CFOs are known for having analytical minds. But how do they apply that trait to capitalize on the vast amounts of customer and performance data now at their fingertips? Mastering “predictive analytics” — the practice of organizations extracting information from existing data sets in order to determine patterns and predict future outcomes and trends — is not easy.

As the authors of “Mobilizing the C-Suite for Big-Data Analytics” explain (see below), “crafting and implementing a big-data and advanced-analytics strategy demands much more than serving up data to an external provider to mine for hidden trends. Rather, it’s about effecting widespread change in the way a company does its day-to-day business.”

What can businesses actually achieve with data analytics? A lot, according to the stories below, if they have a management team that embraces the concept. Still, success is not assured. As the carmakers say about gas mileage, “your results may vary.”

Data Analytics Grows Sears Appliance-Repair Unit

Sears wanted to wring out costs and elevate productivity within its $3 billion home services operation. Using predictive analytics, it was able to eliminate 450,000 unproductive house calls. Read the story.

The Future of Finance Has Arrived

The pace with which finance functions are employing automation and advanced technologies is quickening. Rapidly. A new survey of senior finance executives by Grant Thornton and CFO Research revealed that, for just about every key finance discipline, the use of advanced technologies has increased dramatically in the past 12 months.

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Big Data: Where the Money Is

Free-standing big data businesses can evolve from the expansion of data gathering and analysis within a single company. Full story.

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Achieving Real-time Visibility across the Organization

This report expands on prior research and focuses on two issues identified by respondents as being next in importance to streamlining process and improving productivity: improving the management reporting cycle and achieving real-time visibility across the organization.

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Authored by Netsuite

Predictive Analytics: How Clear Is the ROI?

Companies claim that predictive analytics has earned them rich returns on their investments, but the numbers may not be as solid as they appear. Is calculating ROI for predictive analytics even important? Read more.

Mobilizing the C-Suite for Big-Data Analytics

Leadership-capacity constraints are undermining many companies’ efforts, but new management structures can be part of the solution. Read the column by two directors at McKinsey.

Why CFOs Should ‘Own’ Analytics

Finance chiefs, the impartial guardians of the truth, can use analytics to debunk myths or accepted wisdom that hold the company back, writes Frank Friedman, CEO of Deloitte.

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