Conference Updates

May 25, 2021

Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference: Day 1 Highlights

We are bringing you news and highlights from the Gartner CFO & Finance Executive Conference. Below is a collection of key announcements and insights coming out of the conference.

On Day 1 of the conference we are highlighting the top 4 trends in data and analytics in finance, overcoming digital conservatism in finance, and how to build a successful finance analytics center of excellence. Be sure to check this page throughout the day for updates.

Key Announcements

New Foundation for Digital: Top 4 Data and Analytics Trends in Finance

Presented by Richard Reis, VP, Advisory, Gartner

COVID-19 has been disruptive in unprecedented ways, and created tremendous cost pressures, yet investment in digital for finance continues to accelerate. In this session, Richard Reis, VP, advisory at Gartner, examines the top 4 trends driving this digital investment in finance.

Key Takeaways

  • The first trend driving digital investment in finance is pervasive cloud deployment which is occurring because cloud is a key enabler. It connects finance into the broader domain of the enterprise.
  • The second trend is augmented data management. A huge amount of resources currently go into the basic acquisition, organization and categorization of data. Finance leaders need to automate this data management and further enrich it in a complex multi cloud environment where even basic data management is challenging.
  • The third trend is the convergence of data and analytics platforms. The true power of data and analytics lies in being able to view information from multiple domains in a holistic way. 
  • The fourth trend is dynamic data storytelling will replace traditional dashboards. This is because creating a compelling narrative around data visualization increases the adoption and usefulness of data to an audience and will drive its widespread use.

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Overcoming Digital Conservatism in Finance

Presented by Cliff Struhar, VP, Advisory, Gartner

Finance is often reluctant to be on the leading edge of digital technology because it tends to be risk-averse: preferring to go slow with well-worn methodologies rather than risk failure in more ambitious projects. In this session, Cliff Struhar, VP, Advisory, Gartner explains why conservatism is not well-suited to get the best out of digital initiatives and how to remedy it.

Key Takeaways

  • The key hallmarks of digital conservatism in finance are: Over-reliance on established use-cases; Too few digital projects pursued simultaneously; Overinvesting in finding the “perfect” tool rather than the tool that does the job; Overbearing evaluation and approval processes for relatively small digital projects.
  • This kind of digital conservatism will almost certainly prevent organizations from reaching the ambitious digital targets they have set for themselves.
  • 84% of finance leaders say they want their finance function to be digital by default by 2025. Yet nearly ¾ of CFOs think their finance team maintains a posture that is too cautious toward digital technology. 
  • Finance must first reset its expectations of what is possible, if it is to avoid walking down the same well-trodden paths.
  • It is key to mitigate bias, and improve digital confidence. This means letting digital champions own projects, and to celebrate failure and the learnings it can provide.

How to Build a Successful Finance Analytics CoE

Joey Mixon, Director, Advisory, Gartner 

As enterprises seek to recapture lost market share and pursue new business opportunities, the role of data and analytics will be more critical than ever. In this session, Joey Mixon, director, advisory, Gartner, explains some key failure points and success stories for analytics centers of excellent (CoEs).

Key Takeaways

  • A common failure point for a finance analytics CoE is choosing an organizational model that under-serves the needs of a complex business.
  • Embedding business interpreters into an analytics CoE team is key to establishing its credibility.
  • A data CoE must be part of any analytics CoE. Data literacy equates to success with analytics CoEs and is therefore a core capability of the function.
  • Don’t rush to hire technical experts. Align appropriate roles to the levels of service required as the initiative progresses.
  • Explore the potential to monetize the CoE. Many of the most ambitious analytics CoEs falter because the finance team lacks the advanced skills to run such analytics.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) delivers actionable, objective insight to executives and their teams. Our expert guidance and tools enable faster, smarter decisions and stronger performance on an organization’s mission-critical priorities. To learn more, visit


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