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FP&A: The New Data Champion?

Author: Ronan Collins | | July 30, 2019

FP&A professionals are increasingly using powerful and mature enterprise software solutions like Oracle Hyperion and Oracle EPM Cloud to manage reporting for all non-technical departments.

As a result, FP&A is now responsible for owning and managing the data and workflows that underlie the process of generating reports for other departments. The role of FP&A has been steadily changing over the past several years, as FP&A professionals are increasingly serving as “data champions” within the organization.

The concept of a data champion is a fairly new one that has arisen in response to companies’ growing thirst for data-driven insights. Data champions act as liaisons between the company’s separate IT and business functions by promoting the causes of good data management and data governance.

While the term “data champion” might sound a bit like a rejected Marvel superhero, their presence comes at a time when they’re sorely needed by many businesses. According to a recent survey, 69 percent of companies believe that they’ve failed in their quest to create a data-driven organization. What’s more, the percent of companies calling themselves “data-driven” has dropped from 37 percent in 2017 to 31 percent in the latest figures.

By serving in their new roles as data champions, FP&A seeks to empower the rest of the business to make the best use of the financial data that they have at their fingertips. FP&A aims to place accurate, up-to-date, high-quality financial data at the center of the decision-making process.

As a result, managers and executives always have access to the information they need, when they need it. Thanks to the FP&A data champions, the crucial activities of strategic planning and forecasting will result in better predictions and more on-target budgets and timelines.

The formal responsibilities of data champions within an organization include:

  • Data governance: Enterprise data must be available, secure, consistent, and reliable.
  • Data reliability: Information is always consistent, coherent, and up-to-date, adhering to a “single version of the truth.”
  • Data stewardship: The sources, use, and maintenance of enterprise data must be carefully managed, so that business users can easily access it.

Of course, the duties of data champions don’t end there. As financial experts, FP&A professionals are uniquely positioned to advise managers and executives about the best path forward for the organization. For one, their knowledge and expertise is needed to interpret the intricacies of both internal and external data. FP&A can serve as a valuable business partner here, informing management about positive indicators or warning signs that need greater attention.

In their role as data champions, FP&A can also serve as technology advisors. With the IT landscape changing so swiftly, organizations need to constantly assess and reassess their needs in terms of data storage, processing, and analytics.

Popular enterprise solutions like Oracle EPM Cloud, and the on-premise equivalent Oracle Hyperion Financial Management (HFM), have stood the test of time, helping thousands of companies better report and analyze their financial data.

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