Retail & CPG finance functions are racing to transform as they battle to regain momentum post-pandemic, whilst also being faced with increasing headwinds from rising inflation, supply chain disruptions and the ever-increasing threats of digital-first new entrants. To weather these storms, and not only survive, but thrive, successful retailers & CPGs are building in increased agility and enhanced overall financial visibility. The confidence to grasp new opportunities, drive growth, embrace change and overcome challenges derives from a finance function reimagined to become the go-to source of analysis and predictions based on detailed, accurate and trusted data. It is the backbone of all enterprises but must now become increasingly supple to meet new challenges. For many, the building blocks are there, what’s needed is agility to build new capabilities at the speed and enterprise scale required, whilst remaining profitable and delivering the fundamental duties of the finance team.
CHANGING THE ENGINES MID-FLIGHT
Finance teams are always pulled in multiple directions. On one hand they have specific, and often regulated duties. They must accurately report financial metrics to the Board and externally. They need to manage the vital financial functions of the enterprise, and much of this is routine and established. However, the retail & CPG environment is typified by change, and with change comes challenges and opportunities. Fast-moving competitors are stealing market share from traditional, established retailers & CPGs by reacting more quickly to changing trends and consumer behaviour. To keep up, and fully compete with their increasingly digital business models, innovation, trial and scaling new approaches at speed become necessities.
Line of business managers are increasing demanding more data, from more sources, at almost real-time, and more often than not they look to finance to provide this. Often the challenge is simply keeping up with this demand for data, and then sharing it throughout the organisation. It’s also clear that past experience is no longer such a valuable predictor for tomorrow’s requirements. The finance function itself must be continuously reimagined to meet these new demands, whilst still fulfilling its core duties. Like trying to change the engines on an airliner whilst still attempting to fly it.
The good news is that finance functions have the skills, credibility and authority to turn these challenges into opportunities. According to research conducted by Accenture, 76% of decision makers understand that a single source of truth across the organization is important to achieve key business goals – with the finance function the natural owner of the data that can provide this single truth. To provide this information at the speed and scale required, finance teams clearly need to automate as much of the routine data gathering, preparation and integration as possible. In the same survey though, Accenture found that only 34% of finance tasks are automated, but that as much as 80% could be! Doing so would allow the team to pivot from spending the majority of their time looking in the rear-view mirror, to using strategic analytics to predict and future scenario plan.
A FINANCE DATA FOUNDATION
Teradata supports the automation of these routine tasks within finance functions of leading retailers and CPGs around the world. Leveraging the speed and scale of Teradata, data can be integrated from multiple ERP and operations systems at the level of individual transactions, as well as streamed data from web channels and numerous other 3rd party sources. Integrating all of this into a single finance data foundation built with Teradata’s tried and trusted financial data models creates the platform for your finance transformation.
A finance data foundation supports wide ranging automation for accurate, trusted and timely reporting on financial performance. Integrating and making sense of the fast-moving and diverse data sets in Retail and CPG also creates the data assets essential for experimentation, design and implementation of new products, offers and processes that can better predict, react and meet evolving customer needs.
The scalability of Teradata allows this analysis to be conducted down to each individual store, product, channel and customer level. This means no more guessing based on aggregated financial/customer data and outdated assumptions – the financial data foundation has the detail to support confident decisions in near real time. Armed with these capabilities, finance teams become strategic business partners providing data and insights to support all future-focused business decisions.
Investing in a finance data foundation delivers value across the business fast. Reporting cycles are then significantly reduced. Some of our customers now generate month end report in under five days using Teradata Vantage, while many that don’t take 3-4 times longer. 80 million transaction data points from 600 sources can be reconciled in just 60 minutes.
The benefits naturally go far deeper than speeding the delivery of essential information. Faster access to more data from the finance team accelerates time to insights, allowing the business to react faster to capitalise on opportunities or avoid threats. Financial forecasting becomes more scientific and comprehensive as multi-dimensional views integrate data from diverse sources and accurately predict the impact of activities.
Fundamentally, a finance data foundation creates the trusted single truth which the whole business can leverage to drive growth. Every insight is delivered with full traceability back to the original data source (i.e., general ledger) and details every data transformation. From an auditability perspective, repeatability and assurance is baked in.
This visibility, and the finance function’s central role in providing clarity, transparency and trust around data, transforms its role within the business. No longer a reporter of past events, the finance function of today’s successful retailers and CPGs become the essential backbone supporting digital transformation to meet the upcoming challenges and grab the opportunities created by digital native customers. To find out more about how Teradata can be leveraged to provide this strength and flexibility please get in touch.