Current technology forums and surveys all point to the growth of ‘big data,’ which is a collection of data sets so large and complex it becomes difficult to process using traditional data processing applications.
However, cloud computing can be used to organise, analyse and manage a firm’s data and technology-minded management accountants can use the data to drive strategies for growth and measure its financial return.
Given that the scope of big data returns is so huge, firms should be putting a value on it but many companies do not, perhaps because they have no idea how to.
In fact, a recent survey from information management company Iron Mountain found that half of the 760 European information managers polled had no idea how to make the most of big data, while one in five said that they would not even try to.
However, some companies are moving towards quantifying the financial impact big data could have on their firm’s bottom line and those that do have a better idea of the potential of it to improve performance.
In addition, another recent survey showed that four out of five chief financial officers who put a data value on the balance sheet also monitor regular key performance indicators on data quality, which compares with fewer than three in five in the companies that do not give data a financial value.
Management accountants that do value their firm’s big data need to analyse its volume, velocity and variety. This can be information on minute segments of a firm’s customer base and from any source.
While segmentation has been possible for some time in retail, via EPOS for example, cloud computing now allows even small firms the opportunity of finding out about what prospective customers think about its products, values or customer service, which has to be valuable, which is why the management accountant must incorporate it into his or her strategy for the future.