Shift 3: The Critical Role of Big Data
Already, the amount of data in the world is so vast as to be virtually incomprehensible. The World Economic Forum estimates that 44 zettabytes of data existed in 2020. That’s 44 followed by 21 zeros. To put that in context, if this estimate is correct, we now have more bytes of data than stars in the observable universe.
And yet, too many companies try to manage their data via a byzantine collection of systems, tools, and solutions stitched together by middleware and additional programming. So while companies have more data across their organizations than ever before, some firms are still in the dark. Their legacy systems have kept data inaccessible, inaccurate, and isolated.
And so, as executives look to a post-pandemic future, they understand the status quo is no longer acceptable. In an industry facing increased regulatory pressure—not to mention other disruptions including evolving COVID-19 variants, increased climate concerns, fragile supply chains, and ongoing political and social division—agility will be the differentiating factor that separates leaders from laggards.
Leaders also recognize that to increase agility and come out ahead, they must take control of their data. In fact, 99% of executives noted the importance of real-time data, according to a recent Accenture survey of 450 finance leaders at companies with revenue of more than $1 billion. What’s more, highly data-driven organizations are three times more likely to report significant improvements in decision making compared to those that rely less on data, according to a PwC survey of more than 1,000 senior executives.
To become agile organizations that successfully leverage their data, financial institutions and insurers need a solution that goes beyond traditional enterprise resource planning systems. Specifically, finance leaders need an enterprise management cloud that creates a state of clarity by uniting operational and financial data to produce real-time reporting with subledger details.
The Single-System, Active Planning Solution
The status quo of extracting data from legacy systems and stringing it together for the general ledger falls short. Because that process creates a ledger that lacks source data, finance leaders can’t drill back to efficiently resolve variances, determine risk, explore drivers that impact results, or provide greater visibility into performance.
Moreover, because these legacy systems and workarounds take so long, companies that rely on them are trapped in static planning mode. Finance leaders at these organizations spend so much time accessing, reconciling, and formatting data after the period closes that by the time they deliver reports to business units, the information has become outdated and unusable.
To address this, Workday created Workday Accounting Center, a single, cloud-based system that can ingest, enrich, and transform financial institutions’ data into accounting. It streamlines accounting and simplifies reconciliation and consolidation, enabling a faster close and richer analysis.