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We need to use fast-moving technology to stay ahead of the curve. But we must also become data architects to be more effective.

As CFOs, we are great at understanding historical trends, predicting future scenarios and sticking to statutory guidelines. However, creating new and unique angles for looking at data sets the CFO of the future apart. We must be data architects – building insight and value through company intelligence.

In this article, I share two simple, unique examples of BI creation. These have the potential to become a core competence for any company.

Example 1: The ‘Cheese Platter’

An example of the 'cheese platter' model – pulling in and collating data from multiple sources

Data is everywhere. You stimulate creativity when you mix different data sources. For example, you can pull financial, operational and technological data together with growth and impact in mind.

One vital piece of intelligence we can produce is our potential customers. Who are they? What is their probability of buying? A next-generation CFO can help convert leads into paying clients directly.

Use various snippets or stories relating to your product in newsletters and blogs. The content should give value to the reader, not direct selling. Through that content, you get to understand what the reader is interested in. Think of it as a cheese platter. As they choose from the platter, we get to find out what kind of ‘cheese’ they like.

This way, you can start building users’ profiles before they even become users. Use information curated online and through our cheese platter exercise. You are creating smart and targeted qualified leads based on unique and proprietary data, which delivers great value.

Example 2: Impact Intelligence

An example of the impact intelligence data model – feeding employee data from Trello and into your accounting software

CFOs are increasingly involved in operational matters within a company, especially when it comes to efficiency and impact. Where traditional CFOs fear things they cannot measure, a CFO with an architectural mindset takes this as a fun challenge. That, in turn, becomes a massive value add for the company.

Measuring impact is a big topic, so let us focus on employee impact only. As we become remote and cannot physically manage employees, data and intelligence on employee efficiency and measurement of their effects become important.

Many companies use some form of work planner such as Trello or Asana. The level of data you can export from these applications is amazing. Accounting software like Xero is very tailorable too. Make your workflow application talk with your accountancy platform. Then you can model and benchmark revenue impact based on roles, employee costs or time spent per project.

This is just a foundation; you can add various layers and other data sources from here on in.

Human beings are meant to be creative. Traditional ways of measuring companies, stocks, performance and valuations are fading away. We are the architects of the next phase.

Hayat Amin is a C-suite who spearheads high growth tech companies.