We are moving from an era of data scarcity to an era of data abundance. This is being driven by the Digital age we live in. But data is not made equal, some of it is far less useful or trustworthy than other data. This is a huge challenge for society and our education systems. Zooming in on what I know best – the finance function in corporations – big data can become a curse, if you allow yourself to drown in it. To turn it into a blessing, CFOs need to change a few things, starting with the kind of talents they hire …We live a data paradox. We feel submerged by data which is all around us and omnipresent, whereas those data could make our lives so much easier are much harder to find and identify. The real problem is most data is not useful. You need to figure out where data analytics can provide you with real insights instead of bringing more complexity or setting people going off in tangents. This is not an easy task. As a CFO, I try to stay focused on the basics (revenues, costs and profits) and build up from there starting with simple data analytics that gives me more clarity on the market opportunities, the go-to-market costs and the different scenarios to allocate business profits. It is only when I feel I have a strong understanding of these scenario’s that I then move to look at big data analytics and outputs to try and validate the scenario’s that have been identified.I know this is easier said than done. Another good ploy is to surround yourself with the right people.I recently stumbled across an article in Healthcare Finance, referring to a survey by WorkDay, which perfectly summarizes the promise of big data for the finance functions: data-driven decision-making (rather than intuitions) that makes the CFOs and their teams more resilient and intelligent, delivering quality insights and strategic advantages for the whole organization. But the report also indicates that many corporate finance functions are still unable to deliver these insights, due largely to:difficulty integrating finance and non-finance datalack of relevant skills within finance teams, andineffective collaboration among C-suite peers on data-driven decision-making.My previous blogs were about point 3 and, indeed, the need for partnerships, specifically between the CFO and the CIO, which is key to aligning on the right data sets.Regarding point 1, I do not think that access to non-financial data is a problem, as such. The difficulty is to get data in a trustworthy format that you can easily embed into your own CFO story. There are so many different templates and subsets across departments and business units. This is also where a strong CFO-CIO can help getting everyone in tune.Where I think CFOs have still a long way to go is, indeed, point 2 and the access to skills.Chalk and cheeseTo refresh the knowledge inside your finance department, I strongly encourage you to search for less traditional profiles. Besides accounting and finance champions, attract some nerdy data scientists and make them feel comfortable in your team. They are so scarce on today’s market that you had better offer these mavericks a motivating challenge, as well as a suitable infrastructure to start getting value out of artificial intelligence. Otherwise, like in this testimonial, they will not stay long in your team.The infographics here illustrate that data scientists and business analysts are like chalk and cheese. They do not naturally work together. But it is your task, as CFO, to show leadership and make the best of both worlds.A tactical tip? Introduce some job rotation so that each group of skilled people understands the benefits brought by the other one. There is a kind of trade-off to be found here.If you keep data scientists and business analysts separated, the risk is that your own exploitation of Big Data may go too behind the wall, disconnected from the business realities. Data science just for the sake of it.Conversely, if you keep them together all the time, you restrict the power of data scientists to think out of the box and to provide real insights once their job is combined with the skills of the business analysts.In conclusion, there is not one silver bullet to make your finance department smarter and more resilient, but investing in a good mix of new talents while increasing the data analytical skills of the existing teams… is definitely a sound decision. Though, I must confess, it is based on my own intuition and experience more then on machine learning.Always happy to read your comments!
Economy, Infrastructure, Jobs That Pay, Port Development, Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey celebrate the recent arrival of the first two super post-Panamax cranes at The Port of Philadelphia (PhilaPort), marking another major milestone spurred by the governor’s port development plan.“Pennsylvania’s ports are vital to the economic success of the entire commonwealth and I will continue to invest in our assets that strengthen Pennsylvania’s economy and support new job growth,” said Governor Wolf. “The new cranes positioned along Philadelphia’s waterfront will serve as a visual reminder that business is booming in Pennsylvania.”“Having worked years to help secure funding for the Delaware deepening project, I’m pleased to see what can come of effective federal, state, and private collaboration efforts,” said Senator Casey. “These cranes will do a great deal to help ensure that PhilaPort remains a global competitor and I look forward to watching their role in strengthening the economy of southeastern Pennsylvania.”Once fully operational, the 32-story high cranes will stand 13 feet taller than the neighboring Walt Whitman Bridge with its boom in the upwards position.“For over a year we have been working hard to prepare the terminal for these cranes and it is great to see them here,” said Jeff Theobald, Executive Director and CEO of PhilaPort. “Last year we hit an East Coast record of 19 percent container growth. To sustain that type of growth, these new cranes are a necessity.”The arrival of the cranes marks another significant milestone since the governor announced his plan to invest more than $300 million in PhilaPort’s infrastructure, warehousing, and equipment in 2016. Since implementing the infrastructure improvement plan the port realized record breaking cargo volumes and nearly 20 percent container growth in 2017, and just last month welcomed the arrival of the largest container vessel to ever call at the Port.“Saturday was one of most momentous days I can recall when it comes to advancing the Port of Philadelphia. All governors, since I have been in office, have assisted the Port in creating jobs. However, Governor Wolf’s commitment to the dredging project and to turning Packer Avenue into a modern marine terminal is without equal,” said Representative William F. Keller. “The governor understands the job retention and job creation associated with the Port will have no rivals throughout the commonwealth. I want to thank Governor Wolf on behalf of the residents of the commonwealth for the thousands of jobs he has maintained and to thank him for the thousands of jobs he is creating.”Development is slated to continue through 2020 and is projected to support thousands of jobs and generate an increase of more than $100 million in state and local tax revenues annually. Governor Wolf, Senator Casey: Philadelphia Crane Arrival Highlights Success of Port Growth March 27, 2018 SHARE Email Facebook Twitter
New Bluebirds boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer worked with the former Manchester United player at Molde, and is keen to secure his services once again. Norway international Magnus Wolff Eikrem has already joined Cardiff, while a deal for his compatriot Mats Moller Daehli is expected to be completed before the weekend meeting with West Ham. Cardiff have made an approach to sign Hannover striker Mame Biram Diouf. And Solskjaer is now also looking to bring in Diouf after a Hannover spokesperson confirmed to Press Association Sport the Bundesliga club had received an approach from Cardiff. Cardiff are believed to be prepared to pay around £2.5million to sign the 26-year-old, who has scored 30 goals in 61 appearances for Hannover. Press Association