Why all FP&A Roads go to Data Management

By Irina Steenbeek, ABN AMRO Bank N.V. , Data management consultant

Why FP&A and Data management meet in the article? 

Even if last six years I have been specialized in Data management,  I still follow (thanks to FP&A club) developments in FP&A area. While reading some publications on FP&A trends I realized the strong connection between FP&A and Data management topics.  So, I decided to share with you some of my observations and experiences.

Let’s start with the notable trend of FP&A to become a business partner*

In the FP&A world among others, it is interpreted as being a trusted advisor to decision makers on both strategic and operational levels.

Where in the world of Data management do we meet ‘decision makers’? The slogan ‘an organization to be data-driven’ became very popular. There are a lot of professional discussions on the meaning.

I can briefly summarize it as the following:

  • Put data at the center of the decision-making processes;
  • Give decision makers  access and ability to use  data they need and when they need;
  •  Allow decision makers to ask questions and receive answers that are based on data before the decisions are made;
  • To implement a business governance model within the organization that will enable data-driven decision management model.

How can the organization become data-driven? At least, several strategies to be implemented by management:

  • To transform the organizational structure and culture so that the data and models actually yield better decision;
  • To identify and manage multiple sources of data;
  • Develop data management capabilities to realize two above mentioned strategies.

So, your road map for becoming a trusted advisor is sketched.

The next topic is FP&A role in managing a company value **

FP&A managers have a lot of different responsibilities in the area.  Company valuation is focused on determining the present value of an asset.  What has Data management to do with it?

The ‘Bible’ of DM professionals, DAMA-DMBOK standard, stipulates one of the Data management guiding principles as ‘Data and information are valuable enterprise assets’.
So, the conclusion seems simple: if you as FP&A expert manage a company value, you are also responsible for managing its data and information.

What do we mean by labeling data as an asset? One of the most practical explanations is that data is used as such to make smarter business decisions that allow for companies to become more profitable and/or reduce their potential for risk in regards to how they operate. 

But what is expected from you as FP&A guru with respect to Data management?
The answers are hidden in the DAMA standards mentioned above and we still on our way to it.

What are your functions as FP&A expert** and how they are linked to Data management?

If you think about Strategic planning and Forecasting then your thoughts turn to DWH and BI tooling and Predictive analytics, which are unambiguously Data management functional areas.

If you keep yourself busy with Performance metrics, Trends, Scenarios, Reports and Analysis you instantly need correct historical data, at right time, at the right place, of adequate scope and of acceptable quality. These are your requirements for data that is to be delivered to you. Execution of these requirements is a part of mature Data management function within your organization.

If your responsibilities are extended to Core processes, Enabling Technologies, and Standardization, then you definitely need to be familiar with Business processes and Data flows, Data and Application architecture, Data distribution principles.

So, you see that unavoidably ‘all roads go to Data management’.
This article only touched the top of the iceberg outlining your main concerns at the Data management area.  We all know that ‘the devil in the details’.  
The question remains: how to enforce you with practical knowledge and tooling to let you successfully perform as a Trusted advisor and Business partner.
The following range of articles will equip you with the practical toolkit for FP&A professionals.

* ’From Scorekeeper to Trusted Advisor: The evolution of the FP&A Business Partner’, www.fpa-trends.com
** ‘FP&A: Latest trends’. Presentation FP&A Board.