Corporate treasurers view the advance of cloud computing as the most important technological development facing the industry over the next five years, followed by Big Data analytics and artificial intelligence.
The Economist Intelligence Unit, supported by Deutsche Bank, compiled the data strategy study based on polling of 300 senior corporate treasury executives from around the world.
Forty four percent of respondents to the EIU survey indicate that cloud computing will be the most important technology for treasurers over the next five years, followed by big data analytics (42%) and artificial intelligence (37%). Interestingly, despite the attention it attracts robotic process automation (RPA) was cited by only nine percent of respondents: treasurers say it facilitates automation more than data analysis.
“Treasury Management Systems deployed in the cloud offer a host of benefits, including a wider and more dynamic view of financial positions, automatic access to the latest analytical tools and an ability to more easily collaborate with stakeholders, reducing the need for data collection and input by treasury,” says Ole Matthiessen, global head of cash management, Deutsche Bank. “It has taken some time for risk-averse treasurers to accept the security and robustness of cloud-based solutions, but we are now witnessing a change in mindset.”
Takachida Kuhudzai, Emea treasury manager, Kimberly Clarke, concurs: “With cloud-based solutions, you are now spending less time trying to consolidate the data and more time analysing it and questioning the assumptions."
Treasurers say the primary benefits to becoming more data-driven are higher operational efficiency (39%) and improved return on investments/assets (36%). Data intelligence can also help treasurers to navigate increasingly complex regulation, such as the International Financial Reporting Standards 9 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, four in 10 treasurers express significant concerns about the quality of data they are working with.
“Simply ‘owning’ data is not enough; digital transformation is required in order to extract, aggregate, and analyse good quality data,” concludes Matthiessen. “The journey towards an efficient data-driven treasury takes time and our survey can help treasurers to identify how far along they are and what steps they need to take next.”