What Should Your CFO’s Top Focus for Technology Investments Be?
Chief financial officers are the primary drivers of virtually any new application investments, and it would appear that many CFOs (chief financial officers) are eager to take advantage of analytics to gain a more granular insight into the overall performance of business. That’s according to a recent survey conducted by the financial management software company Intacct. The survey revealed that more than 70% of the 114 CFOs surveyed said that they would be directing the majority of their focus on systems integration for technology investments in the coming months
IT Service Providers Will Need to Establish an Even Closer Relationship with CFOs
The majority of CFOs feel that reporting and analytics are imperative initiatives for supporting business. Regardless of whether these new applications reside on-site or in the cloud, the data used to inform these applications almost always resides in some other system – meaning, that in order to make the investments in advanced analytics and business reporting tools pay off, chief financial officers need to find ways to drive data into these applications.
This means that IT service providers will have to build a close relationship with CFOs – as it is the CFOs who will often be making the decisions regarding a reporting or analytics tool, with only a very small amount of external consultation. Most IT service providers already assume that the CFOs are at the very least evaluating these tools. However, many IT service providers have given little consideration to the amount of time and effort that will be needed to populate these tools with data.
Figuring out how to move data from an internal ERP system to an advanced analytics application is no easy feat. In most cases, this can take internal IT organizations months to accomplish. Meaning that IT service providers will need to start pushing their ability to integrate these applications in a way that considerably reduces the mean time to value a chief financial officer can expect from investing in these applications in the first place. But when it comes to the implementation of these applications, the patience level of most CFOs is fairly thin.
Appeasing CFOs Doesn’t Have to Be a Challenge
Luckily it’s not all bad news, mainly because the majority of IT organizations are already pretty committed to keeping the chief financial officer happy (at least from an IT perspective). For the most part, internal IT organizations wind up reporting to the CFO anyway – and even when an IT department does report elsewhere inside an organization, the relationship with the chief financial officers that need to sign off on major IT spending is always (or at least should be) viewed as extremely important.
Even when there are IT projects that are more important to the business, an application that is expected to be used by the chief financial officer is going to receive extra attention from the IT organization. This often proves to reduce the resistance that many internal IT organizations face when it comes to reducing the need for outside expertise when a project directly impacts the way the CFO sees the business and, by extension, the value of the investments being made in IT.
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