With Finance moving towards becoming a more data-driven function, organisations are increasingly looking to derive more prescriptive insights rather than descriptive insights from their data. Its important that finance equips itself with the right tools, skills and capabilities to address critical questions with newfound speed, accuracy and effectiveness.
Of these areas, KPMG has identified investments in finance analytics technology tools as one of the main areas of focus for financial services organisations. These technology tools are spread across five distinct layers which include:
Provides visualisations that integrate with various tools. This enables users to obtain pre-defined reports, secure access to dynamic visuals to communicate business performance, and ability to develop customised visualisations.
Helps finance users to perform complex modelling (e.g. scenario modelling and primary predictive analytics) prior to visualisation without programming or scriptting knowledge.
Provides data exploration and modelling tools, pre-trained algorithms, artificial intelligenceand data science platforms to support enhanced analysis on data for both predictive and prescriptive requirements.
ETL (Extract, Transform, Load)
Allows flexible interfaces to extract data from sources, transformation to cleanse and structure data and data management, governance and integration.
Offers organisations with an ecosystem of applications, services and data via multiple integration points. It enables scalable, expandable and almost perfectly elastic software servicesthrough solutions like infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS).
KPMG methodology deep-dive
It is crucial to conduct a thorough market analysis to evaluate the suitability of vendor tools across the five technology layers; identify the ‘best of breed’ and market-leading solutions and determine the tools that best fit your organisation’s needs. The key criteria for this analysis should include the tools capability to support:
- Data manipulation/management
- User experience
- Analytics capabilities
Inside-out requirement categories
Once the shortlist of tools has been agreed based on the market scan, its important to overlay your specific business needs along with your current base of deployed solutions across these technology layers. Criteria and weightages for each of these tools may vary for various organisations based on how you want to deploy these.
Vendor solution evaluation
To ensure that the vendor solution addresses your requirements holistically, organisations should also conduct proof of concept/hackathons to compare vendor offerings and make a more informed decision before committing to any long-term contracts.
KPMG’s market scan result per technology layer
KPMG has performed market scan and vendor selection for several clients based on their specific organisational requirements. Some of the key findings from our experiences of market scan/vendor selection are:
- Vendors with presence across various technology layers score high, given that they offer a well-integrated ‘platform’ solution which also reduces the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
- However, for BI/Visualisation layer, specialist vendors score high compared to platform solution providers given their more evolved product strategy and targeted solution. This gap, however, is reducing as the platform providers invest further in expansion andintegration of their solutions across layers.
- Modelling layer in specific is an exception where platform providers do not have a strong suite of offerings. This is largely the remit of traditional Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) vendors who have evolved their product offerings by improving the functionalities around user experience, ease of modelling capability and aggregation/visualisation of data. Given BI/ visualisation is an important component of these EPMsolutions, each of the vendors have considerably improved this capability. However their offering in this area is still not as evolved as standalone BI/visualisation providers.
- Cloud providers are largely led by the top 3 who have a lion share of the market, and most of the cloud investments are largely being channelled to these vendors. Given their ever-expanding ecosystem, they also have a strong presence in the Advanced Analytics layer with pre-trained algorithms, artificial intelligence and cognitive solutions to support enhanced analysis on data for both predictive and prescriptive requirements.
- Data transformation/ (Extract, Transform, Load) ETL layer is mostly where stand-alone/dedicated vendors outnumber the cloud providers and their solutions are more evolved than the cloud/platform solution providers.