APAC organisations unequipped in advanced analytics

Anuradha Shukla

Fifty percent of finance professionals in Asia Pacific (APAC) believe their finance functions are not well-equipped to produce meaningful business analysis and reporting, according to new research by SAP SE and CFO Research.

Eighty percent said that their company's success over the next five years will increasingly depend on its ability to adapt to the rapid pace of change and greater business complexity.

The same percentage believes their company's success depends on its ability to translate data into swift and decisive action.

Findings of the global study are based on a survey of more than 1,500 finance professionals, including close to 300 respondents across Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan and Singapore.

"Finance departments are becoming more integrated with the business, and are starting to realise the correlation between business agility, technology adoption and organisational success. As they take steps towards digitalising and automating processes internally, it is important to provide them with technologies that enable swift decision-making based on real-time data to generate insights and analysis that will steer their enterprises toward success," said Richard Mclean, chief financial officer for SAP Asia Pacific Japan.

More responsibility
Finance functions are gaining more responsibility within organisations thanks to the increased pace of business due to factors such as shifting global economy, new financial regulations, changing government policy and greater customer demand.

Although better tools are required to deliver the in-depth financial analysis that will ultimately drive businesses forward, only 17 percent of respondents in APAC said that their companies have developed or acquired capabilities in advanced analytics.

Eighty-nine percent of respondents in APAC feel that the finance functions will need to contribute more to high-value activities -- beyond traditional finance accounting activities -- that underlie performance management.

Seventy-nine percent of finance professionals in APAC said that organisational success will be enabled by instantaneous access to a unified, comprehensive and fully up-to-date set of financial and performance data.

"Clearly, data awareness is high in Singapore, but there is a need to convert awareness into action. Finance professionals in Singapore understand the value of big data and are ready to use advanced analytics solutions to gain competitive advantage," said Darren Rushworth, managing director for SAP Singapore. "That said, it is the responsibility of all organisations to equip finance professionals with the tools they need to turn big data into competitive insights and forecasts that ultimately translate into better business outcomes."