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Collaborating with your team to solve problems can be easier said than done. Think about your last board meeting. Following the scheduled presentations and discussions were questions from directors, your CEO, and other members of the executive team. Where did the data come from? How current is the information?

And those discussions led to more questions – many of which no one could fully answer. What was the impact of this event? How did that line of business contribute to our bottom line? How might our financial results change if we adjust this variable? What’s the forecast for the next three months? Or three years?

In the face of these questions, people take “action items,” promise to research the issue, and deliver the missing information. Further questions are held until the current ones are answered. Any deeper digging into information happens outside the boardroom and is shared by sending emails or custom reports to individuals. The outstanding issues may resurface at the next meeting or they may be supplanted by the newer, more pressing problems.

Is this any way to make business decisions that will help your firm grow and lead in the digital economy?

Reimagine your boardroom with powerful analytics

The pressures on your business are increasing, thanks to rapidly changing markets, regulatory requirements, and customer expectations. At the recent Sibos financial services event, I spoke with executives about their most difficult challenges. Many want the ability to use predictive analytics and machine learning to better understand future trends. They need faster insight into vast volumes of banking data so they can prepare for board meetings faster and make instant data-driven decisions.

Another common request is the ability to integrate data from different sources. Whether data originated from currency valuations or international stock markets, firms need a global perspective to support decision making and collaboration.

In response to this demand, we created, the SAP Digital Boardroom. The solution helps executives and board members analyze large volumes of information, plan scenarios, and zero in on opportunities, all in real time. A dashboard displays banking-specific key performance indicators. When questions arise, people can drill into details for each line of business and instantly visualize the end-to-end story of the business. And there’s no need to copy data from its source to your business intelligence (BI) engine, because the data is already in place, ready for analysis.

Analyses move beyond the “what happened” questions to present a clear view of current conditions. Powerful predictive analytics even help you understand what’s likely to happen in the future. I recently spoke to an executive from one bank who would like to use SAP Digital Boardroom to evaluate the next best steps for its commercial and retail businesses in the event of an interest rate rise. The CFO is looking forward to becoming more proactive and also being able to calculate and mitigate the bank’s risk in each scenario.

Board meetings are only one application for SAP Digital Boardroom. Early adopters are finding that the data is also useful for non-executive meetings, especially since the user interface is intuitive and requires no training. The solution also supports collaboration among teams and the sharing of best practices across organizations and corporate divisions.

SAP Digital Boardroom is supported by the extremely fast in-memory processing of SAP HANA and its integrated business intelligence and predictive analytics features. And finance executives around the world have responded enthusiastically since the solution was first showcased at SAPPHIRE NOW by Hasso Plattner, chairman of the Supervisory Board of SAP SE.

Alexis Sarat