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CIOs must support strategic data management with digital investment

from  February 27, 2024 | 4 min read

There are a variety of factors to consider when it comes to managing the huge data influx that many organizations are currently experiencing. As a CIO, your IT infrastructure needs to be able to scale to handle the ever-growing volume of data coming into your organization.

Strategic data management needs to be considered when it comes to IT investments, including tools that enable real-time data analysis for strategic planning and forecasting. 

CIOs should invest in Cloud tools that can handle large datasets and leverage machine learning and AI to utilize the data effectively.

In a recent IDC FutureScape webinar, they suggested that “By 2025, 45% of CIOs will prioritize strategic data management and foster a data-centric culture, ensuring competitive differentiation in the digital era.”

CIOs who put themselves in the driving seat of digital transformation will enable growth, resilience, and operational excellence not just by investing in integrated and strategic data management tools but by establishing a data-centric culture, ensuring data can be leveraged rather than overwhelming teams.

Keep reading to learn more and find out how Unit4’s integrated and Cloud-based ERP suite can provide your teams with the tools they need to grow and excel.

Why strategic data management is needed now more than ever

According to McKinsey Digital, 64% of business leaders believe they will need to digitize their business to be economically viable. Moreover, Harvard Business Review adds that mid-market companies with a clear and comprehensive digital vision, that guides strategic decisions, grow 75% faster, on average, then those without. 

Compliance around Environmental, Social, and Governance reporting, IFRS 16, as well as an increasing need for succinct sustainability reporting, demonstrates the increased data load on organizations and highlights a need to leverage integrated data for the cross-functional response necessary.

Moreover, 2024 and the coming years present significant geopolitical factors that have created turbulent market conditions, creating a greater responsibility of teams to focus on and be led by data, rather than making rash decisions without it.

It’s undeniable that those with legacy systems that rely on fragmented data siloes, and inefficient processes, will lack the productivity and tools to effectively strategize for the future and will struggle to remain competitive with those who have digitally transformed.

Click to read Top 9 CIO Considerations (Gated)

The value of integrated data

The data siloes that on-premises and legacy systems use to operate will naturally fragment business functions, presenting an obstacle to collaboration. But most business functions, from HR, finance, projects, procurement, and more, often interact during the business cycle and these teams rely on integrated data for accuracy.

The value of integrating all functions' data into a common data model will create a single source of data truth that can allow the C-suite to strategically interpret data and easily collaborate with different functions.

For instance, ESG reporting compliance will require data to be gathered and consolidated from multiple data sources in order to meet this requirement confidently. 

The increasing use of Gen AI

In a practical sense, AI automation can handle data entry and consolidation tasks easily, and accurately, without fatiguing like many financial teams will. Once consolidated, AI can then turn much of this data into useful reports and use data visualization techniques to encourage strategic thinking.

Not only can AI reduce data errors, but it also ensures teams can use the time they would spend on manual data tasks to refocus and use AI’s forecasts and real-time integrated reporting to develop strategies for the future.

The office of the CFO, as well as other departments, are also experiencing global talent shortages, and AI can help current financial teams bridge this talent gap with intelligent tech solutions. A recent McKinsey report suggests that despite automating 60% of activities, less than 5% of jobs will be replaced.

CIOs must do their research on AI to ensure that their data management strategy ensures ethical AI governance in their organization, that employees are reasonably trained and informed on how to use AI, and to ensure that the implementation aligns with corporate strategy.

How can CIOs create a data-centric culture?

No one can successfully manage what they don’t have data on; ensuring your organization is being led by data is vital to unite business functions, drive innovations, and to inform strategy. Creating a data-centric culture is an ongoing journey. It requires continuous learning, adaptation, and a commitment to embedding data-driven practices throughout your organization.

With improved data processes in the Cloud, such as data visualization, advanced reporting capabilities, and AI data-analysis, forecasting data and using it strategically has never been easier, and means data can easily be understood and used from employee to CEO.

Microsoft reports that employees are 121% more likely to feel valued by their employer when they are empowered with data experiences. But buy-in starts at the top. CIOs should ensure leadership are on the same page when it comes to embedding a data centric culture that sticks.

How Unit4 can provide a strategic data management platform

Our suite of integrated software solutions leverages the triple value of financial management, HR and project capabilities, helping CIOs to manage the increasing influx of data and empower teams to utilize the right data at the right time. 

Notably, our Cloud ERP platform enables extensibility in your software so it's easier to fully integrate your digital ecosystem, creating a single source of truth. Our flexible data model enables CIOs to organize and manipulate their data with ease and establish effective collaboration across the business with a data-centric culture.

Our solutions help you to forecast and predict future outcomes accurately, providing you with the insights you need to achieve your goals and drive growth. 

Book a demo today to learn how Unit4 can help you invest in strategic ERP solutions.

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