I firmly believe we’re all witnessing an industry-wide transformation. It’s driven by the digital economy and the disruption that results from having access to more data than most businesses know what to do with. This is leading to a significant shift in how CFOs and their finance teams view and approach their roles in the Era of Big Data. Ernst & Young, who spoke to 50 large media and entertainment CFOs (including Disney, Time Warner, Univision, Netflix, DreamWorks Animation just to name a few) reported in their research that, “today’s priority for an overwhelming 74% of CFOs is the evolution of digital — using digital to drive their growth agenda and data to deliver the insights that enable game-changing decision-making.”

At Tidemark, we’re constantly researching and finding new ways to better solve the pain points of our customers. It’s the backbone of our thinking and an important priority for each individual at Tidemark; helping our customers is what we work to accomplish everyday. We do this by working closely with CFOs, CIOs and their teams.

This is how we came to realize that today’s managers had questions about their business that no existing software could help them answer. The Era of Big Data has unleashed information traditional systems simply weren’t built to process – the endless stream of real-time, structured and unstructured data from enterprise applications, data warehouses, cloud services, point-of-sale sensors, social networks and more.

Making Big Data Safe for Finance

Understanding how much of this information was useful to enterprises – and then, of course, figuring out how to use it – required us to re-imagine traditionalfinancial planning and analysis (FP&A) by looking at it through the lens of Big Data. Answering what was once called the impossible and the improbable, then incorporating those capabilities into business planning, requires the most advanced computational cloud so requests aren’t hampered by the limitations of other systems. And learning from previous requests, so you can do a progressively better job of answering the tough questions in the future, requires the latest machine-learning capabilities.

You’ll find all this in Tidemark Fall ‘14, the latest release of the cloud-native, mobile-first Tidemark platform. Built for this very moment – when the Era of Big Data is transforming the role of finance – Tidemark Fall’14 harnesses these advanced technologies within its breakthrough Predictive Business Analytics functionality. Now every company can leverage Tidemark’s computational cloud to really take control of Big Data to improve business performance with real-time, accurate, risk-weighted forecasts and plans.

Leveraging Spark ™ the Tidemark Fall ‘14 release brings machine learning capabilities that let you understand the causation and correlation of business drivers, taking the guesswork out of determining what’s really driving your business. You’ll also gain a clear-eyed view of the factors that could stand in the way of your success. These new Predictive Business Analytics capabilities allow teams to ask and answer the questions they never could before.

  • What correlations can we draw from the results of previous point-of-sale promotions to determine which type will drive the most sales leading up to next Saturday’s rivalry game – and should we put it in an end cap or at check-out?  
  • How do we determine our “red line” for rain probability so we can make sure we have enough drivers on hand to maintain our on-time delivery performance if it rains as forecast, yet not overstaff to the point where we completely erode our margins?   
  • What factors really drove the increase in business last week and can we how much will it cost to try to replicate those across all our regions?  

By no means is this all you’ll find in Tidemark Fall ‘14 release. We’ve also added new dynamic capabilities that empower you to bridge the gap between finance and operations – features that help you plan critical business initiatives, as well as understand and act on the meaningful context surrounding performance information pulled from multiple sources.  You can respond in real-time to changes in your business environment by constantly monitoring the impact of the specific line items most likely to affect revenues or expenses.  Drill through to see data at the most granular level – such as SKU items in regional stores for large retailers – and then analyze various scenarios so you can choose the right path to achieve the best outcome. And because this is Tidemark software, you’re never bound by the constraints on volume or dimensions that you’ll find with cubes-based platforms.  There’s plenty more to the Tidemark Fall ‘14 story, and I encourage you to learn about it here.

If Tidemark Fall ‘14 were a movie, the credits would be filled with the names ofour customers: Netflix, ReddyIce, HubSpot, Shelter Insurance, Cerner, Brown University…the list goes on. They’re the ones who are asking the improbable and impossible questions, who are no longer satisfied with planning for the future by looking into the past. They’re the ones who drive our ambition not just to evolve our core FP&A capabilities, but also to take planning, budgeting and forecasting in entirely new directions.  The features we build into every new release of Tidemark software directly flow from their input, and for that we are in their debt.

Just like the map is not a terrain, the spreadsheet is not the business. Let’s continue on our journey to empower finance to be the new driver of transformation together.