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May 19, 2021

There’s little question that the pandemic has led business leaders to amp up digital initiatives across most industries.

In response, CFOs have more frequently been called upon to serve up some detailed answers for investors eager to keep a grasp on all spending tied to such initiatives.

However, capital spending numbers were only an appetizer for certain board members and investors who viewed their businesses’ growing digital operations as a dependable source of new and timely insights into their firms.

“The severity of the risk associated with the pandemic pulled finance executives into a place where they needed to be more comfortable in sharing a degree of detail with investors that was much more foreshadowing or predictive,” says Adam Meister, CFO, Talend, a publicly held cloud data integration company that recently announced its acquisition by private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

According to Meister, the search for more timely insights by investors was most acute shortly after the pandemic’s arrival in North America.

“For the first time, a lot of CFOs were starting to describe things like ‘pipeline,’ which would never have typically been up for discussion,” comments Meister.

Asked how Talend first responded to the demand for more predictive information, Meister says, “On our Q1 call for 2020, we described a little bit of what we were seeing from real-time sales trends. These were not hard metrics at that point but were qualitative and added color to help contextualize the guidance that we had set.”   

Meanwhile, investors were not the only stakeholders demanding greater data insights. Meister observes that in the past few years, Talend had introduced a broader framework of performance measures designed to answer the growing demand for performance indicators from departments and functional areas.

“We asked the question: ‘How do we instill these measures as a framework across every department, even beyond sales—a common framework that can help us to achieve common ways of thinking about economic trade-offs in our business?,’” reports Meister. –Jack Sweeney

GET MORE: Order now The CFO Yearbook, 2021