The cost benefit of integrated systems is an important consideration as finance leaders evaluate investments in technologies to cultivate analytics across all levels of the organization. According to CFO Magazine, 85 percent of financial professionals agree that their organization's success will "increasingly depend on their ability to adapt to the rapid pace of change and greater business complexity," and 84 percent agree that success will largely depend on their ability "to translate the flow of data into swift and decisive action."

In a rapidly changing business environment driven by analytics, finance professionals are expected to serve not just as data caretakers but as informational analyzers who can turn data into valuable strategic insights for the business. CFO Magazine says finance professionals can become more effective by adopting new technologies, expanding their view beyond their own function, learning more about how to use analytics in finance and extending the use of analytics across all functions of the organization.

Bridging the Gap Between HR and Finance

One of the biggest areas where data from integrated systems can have an impact is in planning and forecasting everything from production to utilizing human capital. Finance leaders who have access to more data and the know-how to analyze that data and put it to good use should be able to use that information to bolster profitability by increasing efficiencies.

As human capital is typically an organization's most important asset and constitutes its biggest expense, financial leaders can drive growth in their organizations by taking a bigger interest in HR analytics. Organizations need to strive to remove the silos between these departments and can use integrated systems to help bridge the departmental gap to increase the collaboration between finance and HR. Employers can start with such things as total cost of the workforce, turnover rate for high-performing employees, management span of control and career path ratio, which measures the rate of upward movement in the organization.

Integrated Systems to Support Analytics

Finance and HR will need to work together to create actionable metrics for their organization that can be mutually beneficial and transferable between the both. While these metrics will more than likely differ from organization to organization, to be truly valuable, these metrics should link directly to business results and tie HR to finance. "CFOs and finance organizations can play a vital role in the evolution of human capital metrics and in understanding how human capital drives business and financial performance," reports Strategic Finance Magazine.

As big data and analytics are used more as a catalyst for growth, finance leaders should focus their attention on the cost benefit of integrated systems and strive to rely more on these systems to bridge the gap between finance, operations and human capital. While integrated systems can initially require capital investments and organizational changes, they should also increase collaboration and provide invaluable intelligence to increase efficiencies, identify strategic opportunities and drive growth.

Tags: human capital management technology Reporting and Analytics big data