Bob Dylan sang about social change of course, but the undertone of revolution in his message is as applicable to the technology available for managing financial data as it was to the Swinging Sixties. Things are really changing, and organizations that can take advantage of these changes will find themselves richly rewarded.

We’re interested in finance of course, and software that helps them make sense of all the numbers they deal with on daily basis. So what is all this a-changing about?

Freedom to Do

Software always required experts, people so deeply involved with the software that they did nothing else, and became the point of development for everything to do with the model. However this new generation of software is targeted squarely at the business user, in particular in making trained users within the business able to manage the design and build of models themselves. This is not just lip service either – truly amazing models can now be built by the people that are the data experts. And by removing the programmer/user communication, always a potential for misunderstanding, the design and build becomes a whole lot slicker.

Lower Cost of Ownership

Nifty analysis software for finance has been around for a while – think before Y2K. Often very functional and closely customized to business processes, larger companies took advantage of these systems to better manage their businesses and gain competitive advantage. Why haven’t you seen it? Well because you had to order those cheques with enough room on them to add all the extras zeros because this type of application typically started at seven figures and went up from there.

Moore’s Law and the advent of cloud has brought this cost way down and made powerful analytical software available to a huge range of companies that before were priced out of the market. This is good news for everyone, both the users who can take advantage of powerful new tools, and also the software companies who have a whole new market to serve.
The number of transistors incorporated in a chip will approximately double every 24 months.
Gordon Moore, Learn More

Less IT Required

IT have been a core part of the finance process since the move from T-accounts and written ledgers. And great IT is well… great IT. But having an IT component in any project slows everything down and makes all the first decisions technical ones. How much memory, what type of processor, how much storage? Cloud has taken these questions and put them where they should be – out of the way of the business. Want the software? Just login and starting building away.

Try it First

Try it first is hugely important. Most cloud software these days is available as a trial – so you really can see behind the smoke and mirrors. But really what we’re talking about is what Steve Jobs said: “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Now you can prototype your model and show it to everyone, and get the quality feedback required to give everyone what they really need. Who knew you were really designing the iPhone when you thought you were just trying to create the budget?

Changing times indeed. And change for the better.

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