Chapter 1

The Digital Divide

In the face of ongoing uncertainty, CFOs lack timely, decision-ready financial data.

From drastic shifts in demand to supply chain disruption and e-commerce, retailers are navigating strange and unchartered waters. At the helm are senior leaders using data-driven insights to make business-critical decisions throughout their organizations in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago.

For example, reliance on CFOs is a growing trend across industries. Today’s CFOs are frequently the most important C-suite executive after the CEO1, with 82 percent of CEOs saying that the role of CFO is growing in importance. As their profiles rise, so too do their responsibilities. Modern CFOs are not only tasked with articulating a story about a company’s financial results, but also providing key analysis for optimizing internal processes and shaping future business strategy.

Yet not all retail executives are able to step into the dynamic roles available to them, and those who are face many obstacles. Today, 50 percent of CFOs say that their biggest challenge is the speed of business change. That’s not surprising when many organizations rely on aging, disparate technology systems that can’t provide insights from a tsunami of data. Without systems to provide reliable operational visibility and other insights, retailers are at a disadvantage when they’re asked to make the tough decisions.