There’s little question that the pandemic has led business leaders to amp up digital initiatives across most industries.
In response, CFOs have more frequently been called upon to serve up some detailed answers for investors eager to keep a grasp on all spending tied to such initiatives.
However, capital spending numbers were only an appetizer for certain board members and investors who viewed their businesses’ growing digital operations as a dependable source of new and timely insights into their firms.Read More
“The severity of the risk associated with the pandemic pulled finance executives into a place where they needed to be more comfortable in sharing a degree of detail with investors that was much more foreshadowing or predictive,” says Adam Meister, CFO, Talend, a publicly held cloud data integration company that recently announced it was being acquired by private equity firm Thoma Bravo.
According to Meister, the search for more timely insights by investors was most acute shortly after the pandemic’s arrival in North America.
“For the first time, a lot of CFOs were starting to describe things like ‘pipeline,’ which would never have typically been up for discussion,” comments Meister.
Asked how Talend first responded to the demand for more predictive information, Meister says, “On our Q1 call for 2020, we described a little bit of what we were seeing from real-time sales trends. These were not hard metrics at that point but were qualitative and added color to help contextualize the guidance that we had set.”
Meanwhile, investors were not the only stakeholders demanding greater data insights. Meister observes that in the past few years, Talend had introduced a broader framework of performance measures designed to answer the growing demand for performance indicators from departments and functional areas.
“We asked the question: ‘How do we instill these measures as a framework across every department, even beyond sales—a common framework that can help us to achieve common ways of thinking about economic trade-offs in our business?,’” reports Meister. –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Where do Talend’s offerings intersect the world of real-time insights?
Meister: What we do is data integration, so we’re a big consumer of our own product in this regard. The value of Talend is exactly that: We allow firms to be able to build and maintain flows of data that they can rely on and trust, allowing them to have as much confidence in their business analytics as they do in their financials. I think about it as, How many organizations out there can say that their business intelligence is audit-ready? Not very many. Real-time is an important component of this, but real-time with fidelity and quality is really, I think, the holy grail.Read More
What we’ve got to get done for our own business as we continue to evolve—and one thing that I’m really excited about—is that I want to figure out ways to pull more product intelligence into the decisions that we’re making. Let’s intersect how we can use the experience of our customers to influence the ways in which we go to market. This is just one important example of some of the things I’m thinking about, but it really does have to start with a solid foundation, common definitions, and a group that can be really responsible for monitoring the flow of data across the organization in a way that can alert you if there’s a breakdown or an issue so that you can instill that trust.
That’s a problem set that I think you’re really sharp to be focusing on at CFO Thought Leader. It’s a problem set that I think scares a lot of CFOs out there. It’s an area that I think a lot of companies don’t have their arms perfectly around. Can I trust that data to the degree that I need to, to use it to make the decisions that are going to drive my strategy and business outcomes? You don’t have to take for granted that there are errors in BI. I think that there’s a way to get to a more confident structure and foundation. Talend is a valuable vendor to consider in that journey.
Talend | www.talend.com | Redwood City, CA