Our FP&A software is constantly evolving based on customer input, market forces, but perhaps the most exciting input is coming from our internal hackathon approach.
But first, here's why we did this hackathon in the first place.
CFOs are at their best when they feel like celebrated symphony conductors, and the software they’re using should be the baton; a few simple flicks of the wrist (in this case, mouse clicks) commands a whole (financial) symphony. You’re in full control, able to produce whatever you want with ease, with exciting results that increase the value you bring to your organization.
But that’s not all - you’ll also be a trailblazer, an icon, recognized for everything you deliver to the company, maybe even a trendsetter. Something akin to the first rockstar conductor, so to speak.
That’s the future of FP&A and the CFO role - or at least, that's what Limelight is building towards.
How do we plan to achieve all this?
Simple: never stop innovating. Which brings us to the Hackathon.
Here are some of the things we’re working on - and what we’ve already made reality at our internal, cross-departmental hackathon just a few weeks ago:
- Personalization - making your Limelight match your preferences
- Intuitive mastery - become an FP&A software expert in 30 minutes
- AI pattern recognition - let algorithms reveal patterns previously invisible to humans and get ahead of the competition
- Integration - be able to extract data from any system in real time
- AI support - a digital assistant there to answer every single question, 24/7/365
Let’s take a closer look at the process and the results.
Over the course of several weeks we created several dynamic teams composed of some of the brightest FP&A minds around.
Our entire company was involved: developers, sales, marketing, product development, everyone.
And we came together with one goal - to drive innovation.
We want to own the next decade of FP&A, and we plan to do that by empowering you, the CFO, to be able to do more with your financial data in less time. That means deeper, previously hidden insights that lead to more high-value decision making, done faster.
CFOs love us because, well, we already do that. But we want them to love us even more in the next few years - and we’re going to accomplish that by making you feel like a finance wizard with Limelight as your wand and all that you can do with it being the magic (okay, okay, last stick-based metaphor, I promise).
So let’s dive into what we learned and what it means for you finance wizard CFOs.
Machines are too sophisticated these days for them not to pick up on your habits, likes, dislikes, quirks, etc. Heck, that’s pretty much every social media company’s business model. It’s why your LinkedIn and Google ads are so personalized.
If these machines are able to collect the data you may not want gathered, they should be able to do the same for the data you do want accumulated. In this case, you want your preferences noted so that every time you log back into the software, your experience is that much more frictionless and accessible.
Our 2023 hackathon found a few ways to make that happen:
- Favoriting reports that lets you return to projects you’re working on and notifying you whenever someone places a comment on these favorited reports
- Favoriting specific context selection for reports making it easy to return to exactly where you left off
- ‘Recently viewed’ tab allows you to reference all recently opened reports - no more digging through endless lists and no more accidentally closed tabs permanently vanishing
These may seem like minor changes, but this will make using Limelight no harder than using your browser - so you can focus less on the process of FP&A and more on the FP&A itself.
A lot of FP&A software on the market can help you perform financial planning and analysis tasks faster, with more accuracy, and with the ability to parse numbers to reveal valuable insights.
But a lot of these software are difficult to master, taking hundreds of hours to get the hang of so you can start accessing the real potential.
Limelight wants to change that.
Your time is valuable and you should not be wasting it on UI impediments. Worse yet, this actively saps time away from doing the really high value FP&A stuff - that is, interrogating financial data to reveal actionable information.
We’re looking to take even the most complex aspects of FP&A and divide them into digestible chunks, with easy-to-use and understand drop-down menus, step-by-step processes, and every step clearly explained.
It’s what sets Limelight apart - one of the most sophisticated FP&A platforms around which you can master in 30 minutes. And we want to drop that time-to-mastery down even further in the future.
AI Pattern Recognition
AI-powered pattern recognition is the future of FP&A.
Finance teams are at their best when they are able to analyze financial data and discover insights that help execs make decisions - decisions that end up helping the company grow.
In addition to our extant machine learning capabilities, we’re looking to develop AI that can detect patterns humans can’t.
Find out which departments would benefit most from increased resources (based on historical data), vulnerabilities that need to be addressed given predictable market changes (risk mitigation), best times to release new products - all important decisions that, when executed correctly, can lead to massive returns.
We’re building AI that will identify complex relationships between numbers. This will empower CFOs to drive value and equip their organizations with key data that was previously unavailable.
On the flip side, AI will also be able to detect anomalies in your data.
Data points that deviate from expected behavior within a dataset will be collated and explored, with AI not only identifying the issue, but explaining (or offering a number of explanations) as to why it’s happening - both descriptive and diagnostic analyses.
Learn more in our recent AI series:
We want to simplify the data extraction, transformation, mapping, delivery process.
While we’re already quite effective at that with a variety of ERPs (including both Sage integrations and NetSuite integrations) we want to open this up so you’ll be able to seamlessly integrate virtually any dataset into Limelight.
We will simplify the process of data extraction, transformation to make it compatible with Limelight, and mapping it into the appropriate dimensions so it’s seamless, allowing the data to map directly onto the system instantly.
We’re looking to make our extract, transform, load (ETL) process the best it can be.
With pre-built customization for all popular ERP sources, you’ll be able to access your financial data in Limelight with ease.
The end result is FP&A that:
- Features fewer report calls
- Scales easily
- Requires far less troubleshooting
Best yet, it will only take minutes to set up.
Using new software can be a challenge - but it doesn’t have to be. Not now that AI is here to help.
Your digital assistant will be able to support all CS/CS/Cloud ops application-related questions.
Not only will your AI troubleshoot issues and support you whenever you need, but will also be able to carry out a variety of tasks both mundane and complex.
With a few keystrokes, you’ll be able to ask the AI chatbot to:
- Integrate data
- Create a user
- Create a report with KPIs
In addition to a variety of other functions and tasks - even ones that are more specific to your industry.
This will help you build out reports, templates, access actuals vs budgets, etc. - all faster than ever before.
Additionally, the chatbot will be able to answer specific questions like “how much did we spend on ‘x’ department in Q2 2020 vs Q2 2023”, accessing the information instantly - no more data mining.
Brining the Future Close
From incorporating game-changing technology like AI into your FP&A processes to simple quality of life improvements like bookmarking specific reports to easily access them again without having to trudge through a series of navigation queries, Limelight is never looking to rest on its laurels.
Quite the contrary - we want CFOs and finance leaders like you at the head of a powerful, exciting machine that is as easy to use as it is robust in its capabilities - and we want you to be recognized for it.
Check our case studies to see how we’re already changing CFOs’ lives across industries.