In the past, IT departments tended to assume that business people didn’t want to deal with data, but a recent article on Forbes.com reports that assumption has been upended. In today’s “big data” environment, business and finance professionals want to have better access to enterprise data, along with the tools to analyze it, create business expense reports, and put key findings into practice.

This changes the focus of an IT department to making data more user-friendly for businesspeople in a variety of roles. To navigate this transition skillfully, follow the four steps highlighted in the Forbes.com article.

  1. Develop a user-friendly platform for accessing business data. Users focused on expense management, for example, need easy data access in order to track global and departmental spending, monitor cost centers and individual users, and access details on individual transactions.
  2. Add value through powerful analytics. Accessing enterprise data is just the start. With the right analytics tools, users can create compelling business expense reports that reveal trends and opportunities in an organization’s expense management.
  3. Share these data tools across the organization. Connecting all areas of your business to the same data tools can increase the project’s value. Cloud-based applications like Chrome River EXPENSE offer reduced maintenance and widespread compatibility, making powerful desktop-style ad-hoc applications readily available to users across your enterprise via the Internet or a virtual private network.
  4. Streamline a process for converting data insights into actions. This step may be the most difficult, but it is also where a big data project truly pays off. If you’ve laid the groundwork in the previous three phases, it can now increase the speed and effectiveness of decision-making and streamline a variety of day-to-day operations, all with minimal IT involvement.

The bottom line is that in today’s “big data” projects, a key factor for success is to put powerful data tools into the hands of a variety of business users across an organization. Analyzing your company's expense reports is a great first place to start - learning the true cost of sales and understand compliance trends.

Share your experiences with us! What ways have you seen the relationship between businesspeople and IT change when it comes to “big data”?

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