3 ways CIOs can save money by capturing more data

Big data is changing the scope of the CIO position.

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One of the biggest lessons from Big Data in the last decade has been just how much we didn’t know. For CIOs, the new ways that information is gathered, stored and delivered to decision-makers is impacting the scope of their job.

Everything from smart cities, to pharmaceutical research is being heavily impacted by the Big Data evolution.

For corporations, one of the most important applications of data that does not get sufficient attention is its role in reducing costs and protecting the bottom line. Data has become instrumental in helping businesses of all shapes and sizes operate more efficiently.

These are three ways CIOs can leverage data-driven platforms to shave some zeros off the bottom-line:

Automated expense management 

Relying on individual employees to manages expenses is an analogue process that wastes time and is difficult to improve because it is impossible to capture real-time data. For this reason,  businesses are moving to digital expense management platforms to better harness data and improve outcomes.

The average company spends upwards of 20 hours per week processing employee expenses. This is a huge time-suck. And, there’s always the potential for fraud, or honest mistakes. These costs add up: 15% of business fraud is related to expense reporting, with a median cost of $26,000.

“CEOs now have the technology to mitigate or remove human error, prevent malicious activity, and stay on budget,” says Farhan Ahmad, CEO and Co-Founder of Bento. “We’ve seen these types of tools dramatically improve profitability - reducing errors, fraud, and valuable employee time spent processing expense reports.These improvements are game changers for small businesses that operate on challenging margins.”

Technologies like Bento’s employee expense management platform allow businesses to closely regulate where prepaid credit cards are used, how much they can spend, and digitally process receipts. This entire ecosystem helps companies monitor costs, prevent fraud, and predict expenses.

By moving away from a system of paper receipts and into a digital environment, companies are able to track data trends in their expenses that they never could before.

Elegant UI can improve efficiency

Automation is rapidly replacing low-level positions, while expanding the need for competent professionals at higher levels. These new breeds of data professionals are known as knowledge workers - people who are creative, can collaborate, and are capable of organizing complex data sets.

To improve the efficiency of data professionals, managers must learn to study complex data. Many businesses have realized that if they can get their teams to engage with their enterprise technology, they can better understand where their time is being spent. So in order to capture data, they improve the user interface.

“No matter who’s using the solution, how much technical background they have, and how complex the processes in the software, all users deserve a UI that’s simple and clear, logical, and aesthetically pleasing,” asserts Pavel Kostychev, writing for UX Magazine. “In a good UI, a user shouldn’t have to overthink their actions. They should intuitively know what to do with little or no training, and never get lost.”

Achieving a seamless UI is critical for improving efficiency and reducing costs.

Tax liability can be greatly minimized

“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” - Benjamin Franklin
Taxes cost every business money, but successful businesses are more than reactive when it comes to filing. Data analysis allows today’s companies to project trends into the future to better plan and prepare for their taxes.

Deloitte recently published an article covering tax data analytics. They wrote:

“Foresight is also attainable in the absence of future data. Past data can be used to create a statistical model to project into the future. Functions including marketing and supply chain operations use such an approach, and tax can follow suit. For example, how can monthly trends in book income, cash taxes, and effective tax rates help reduce the potential for surprises?”

Businesses that are able to harness that data can save substantial sums of money while also streamlining their entire tax operation. Any opportunity to leverage automation to reduce tax liability can deliver game-changing results.

I’m confident that we are only on the cusp of the Big Data evolution - even if the term has become an overused buzzword. There are so many opportunities for companies to capture data and uncover new opportunities to delight consumers while streamlining their operations. All that’s required is a little imagination and some good old fashioned know-how!

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