A computer glitch at the Royal Bank of Scotland last month wiped out about 600,000 payments — a problem that took four days to fix. Similar disasters coincide with rising demand for real-time analytics, which can help organizations identify and remedy problems before tragedy strikes.
“Many traditional payments monitoring tools have involved a combination of manual monitoring and custom tools often built on Microsoft Excel,” FierceFinanceIT stated. “By moving to an approach that incorporates real-time analytics and historical measurements, firms can benchmark current payments against historical data.”
That’s because there’s too much data to crunch it all by hand, even with Excel.
The Future Is Always Now
Yesterday’s solutions are never adequate for the future, Globe Telecom’s CFO said at SAPPHIRE NOW 2015. The Philippines-based telecommunications service provider is constantly searching for better ways of operating, especially via intelligent tools to more efficiently manage its business.
“Most customers in the Philippines are prepaid subscribers — they’re constantly transacting, making calls [and] sending text messages,” Albert De Larrazabal said. “Our systems have to be able to credit and debit all of the wallets; make sure you’re getting the service out; and make sure you’re getting paid.”
Globe runs near-real-time data analytics to monitor and coordinate transactions, track its systems, and diagnose potential problems, according to De Larrazabal. His finance department also examines hourly reports for anything that strays beyond typical trends.
The Strategic CFO
“We look at finance as a natural way of obtaining a total view of the company — what’s happening and how plans integrate,” De Larrazabal said. “We view ourselves as an enabler, rather than as one who controls.”
Moving from the shadows of the back-end to helping generate revenue requires deep understanding and insight into how all of an organization’s departments work. Having a coordinated view of everyone’s plans, resources and risks will help the department leaders chart a unified path forward.
“In the context of enabling those conversations, particularly in a telco, real-time data is almost a must,” De Larrazabal said. “We need to have integrated systems that provide us that insight so that we can manage the real-time services that we provide for our customers.”
Execution in Real Time
Once Globe’s department leaders agree on the strategy, they each execute based on their areas of expertise. The CFO’s area is financial functions, which includes ensuring that everyone has an accurate, integrated view of the situation.
“So I constantly have to look for tools, systems and applications that enable us,” De Larrazabal said. “It’s a fast changing industry that can be extremely disruptive.”
Without its real-time technology, Globe would be running blind, De Larrazabal stated.
“If we didn’t have the ability to do real-time monitoring, we would have to hope that everything is running well,” De Larrazabal said. “You can’t do that, not in this particular type of business.”
And Globe is the type of business that processes between 500 million to 600 million SMS messages a day, according to De Larrazabal.
“Can you imagine if we’re not rating those things properly?” De Larrazabal said. “It would be quite disastrous.”
For those who can’t imagine, look no farther than RBS’s glitch last month.
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