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How xP&A is Evolving the IT Role and Promoting Self-Sufficiency

extended planning and analysis and it

As an enterprise expands its technology capabilities and access, IT begins to take on a whole new role. Self-service analytics tools give finance professionals the ability to track crucial KPIs and report data to business leaders.

These tools, like Power BI, play an important role in transitioning from traditional FP&A to FP&A 2.0 (otherwise known increasingly as Extended Planning and Analysis, or xP&A).

Evolving to xP&A involves building out the technological infrastructure and resources to provide better access to data across the enterprise. That means many IT professionals will soon spend more time focusing on data governance while promoting data literacy, accessibility, and security.

Overall, xP&A empowers finance teams to step into an advising role that’s less dependent on IT to track, monitor, and understand data.

Your team likely already has the right tools, but they may not be designed for scalability across the enterprise. IT professionals can contribute to bridging the gap between tracking relevant data and empowering finance teams to communicate results to the business.

To make FP&A 2.0 a reality, IT needs to focus on creating a foundation that enables access without compromising security or data integrity. Here are some ways that IT’s relationship with finance evolves with xP&A to promote even greater self-sufficiency.

Building Scalable Infrastructure and Processes

Excel-reliant finance teams aren’t always thrilled about adopting a new tool. IT can help smooth the transition by making the infrastructure and processes that bridge the gap between collecting the data finance teams need and presenting that information to business leaders.

Until now, limiting tool access to IT and designated business units has been the best way to maintain high data quality and follow risk management best practices. But, we all know this isn’t the most efficient or productive way for most teams to operate…and this often puts undue strain on IT teams.

Business leaders, especially those engaged in financial planning and analysis, are seeing that scalable technology and processes are a huge value add to the enterprise.

Building out technological capabilities based on Finance’s needs are just the first steps toward getting an enterprise ready for xP&A. IT leaders also need to work alongside the Chief Data Officer (CDO) to develop resources to support processes—like an effective data governance strategy—to cultivate data integrity and security.

Cultivating Data Governance and Ownership

As the system architecture expands, new considerations come up for maintaining data integrity. While many IT professionals dream of creating a true self-service platform, there’s always a risk of duplicate data alongside security and privacy concerns.

While tools like Power BI Sentinel are here to support your data governance program, the enterprise still needs a strategy to ensure data governance is top of mind for all users. Even though IT plays a vital role in defining the strategy, that doesn’t mean IT needs to own everything related to data governance.

Determining ownership of data governance processes and data management is a key part of forming your governance strategy.

Effective data governance processes will contribute to managing security across the enterprise, which will almost always fall in IT’s wheelhouse. From there, transitioning to xP&A involves empowering finance teams to effectively access and use the data without IT’s hands-on involvement.

Empowering Finance with Data Literacy and Accessibility

Even when finance professionals know what information they need to monitor, they may not have the accessibility or ability to pull real-time reports. Self-service capabilities only work when teams have the data literacy to use and manage data tools correctly.

Before, maintaining data integrity meant limiting data availability to specific teams within the enterprise. Now, teams are discovering that ready access to data is essential to effectively advise business leaders. Without this data, planning and analysis decisions are made on static outdated reports, and important decisions are drawn out days—if not weeks.

Access to tools like Power BI is only valuable if the team knows how to use them. As more enterprises shift to xP&A, IT leaders will need to expand training and hands-on support to improve data literacy for finance teams. Ultimately, training teams early on to become self-sufficient will allow IT to focus more on maintaining or expanding systems than fixing them.

xP&A Encourages Self-Sufficiency Across the Enterprise

Finance teams have notoriously relied on IT and business intelligence teams to get the information they need. As finance professionals transition into xP&A and into trusted advisors, the relationship between these teams will change. xP&A allows IT to take on a strategy and advisory role in a whole new way, too.

Your enterprise’s next evolution encourages teams across the enterprise to take ownership over data integrity, which leads to higher productivity, efficiency, and self-sufficiency.

With the right platform and processes in place, your people thrive in new ways and make more informed decisions. But, getting there takes vision.

Collectiv’s FP&A Visioning Program helps your finance team see what comes next to become true advisors within the enterprise. This program, along with our Power BI Visioning Program, creates the foundation to help finance and IT work together to strengthen the enterprise.

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