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A Practical AI Strategy for FP&A:

Setting the Foundation for Success

Artificial Intelligence Will Transform FP&A Processes

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) that harnesses machine learning (ML) will be the single most important trend in business software this decade because it can multiply the investment value of such applications and provide software companies an important source of differentiation to achieve a competitive advantage. Our Analytics and Data Benchmark Research demonstrates that this movement is already underway, as it found that 59% of organizations regard AI and ML capabilities as either important or very important.

It is a common misperception that putting AI to work always or often will require the skills of data scientists—it will not. AI software continues to be made more accessible to those with different skill levels. Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) groups in particular will benefit from AI-enabled capabilities to accelerate planning, forecasting, budgeting, analyzing and reporting processes. However, FP&A leaders and finance executives must recognize the importance of creating a solid data foundation for the successful use of AI.

AI is Already Here and at Work

Ventana Research defines AI and ML as the use of technology to process information in much the way humans do, including improving accuracy in recommendations, actions and conclusions as more data is processed. While AI may seem futuristic, it is already at work in a lengthening list of use cases. For example, recommendation engines are common in consumer-facing services such as retail or entertainment. Navigation applications “learn” the best routes for time or distance at specific hours of the day, while spam filters automatically adapt to evolving attempts to evade them. Road warriors routinely use their smartphones to take pictures of receipts and expense-management applications convert the images to business-useful data used for automating expense processing. And voice recognition makes it possible for individuals to quickly interact with computer systems that utilize natural language processing.



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