As more organizations embrace cloud computing environments, the very nature of the IT department's role has evolved. CFOs, meanwhile, increasingly have more say over their organization’s IT strategies.

Elliot Markowitz

November 25, 2013

2 Min Read
Meet the New Face of IT: The CFO

The power and traditional roles of the C-suite executives are changing fast, and technology is perhaps the biggest catalyst. While the chief information officer (CIO) is still regarded as the main decision-maker, when it comes to major IT purchases, strategies and deployments, it’s the chief financial officer (CFO) who is gaining influence and more often weighing in heavily on business decisions across the organization.

In fact, a recent survey of Fortune 1000 CFOs unveiled a whopping 81 percent of them feel their companies view their finance operation as a “strategic business partner,” and as a result are engaging the CFO in top-level decision-making, according to Forbes. Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the IT space.

CFOs increasingly have more say over their organization’s IT strategies and are working very closely with their CIOs. That means it's no longer enough for solution providers to have access to the IT leaders in their customer base—they now also have to gain the trust of the CFO.

Why, you may ask? IT has permeated every aspect of business operations. It no longer is looked at as a separate department in most cases but rather as a tool, an enabler, a necessity for growth and instrumental in squeaking out more profits. IT no longer is a cost of doing business but a critical component to staying competitive and efficient.

As more organizations embrace cloud computing environments, migrating department by department and business function by business function, the very nature of the IT department's role has evolved. And as business analytics, storage, virtualization, data security and mobile computing become engrained within the fiber of every business function, organizations have brought in the CFO to ensure there are ROI metrics involved.

Solution providers are seeing this develop right before their eyes. CFOs are brought into IT discussions during all phases of a rollout—not just during the initial proposal anymore. Because of the business ramifications, CFOs are involved throughout the deployment process, ensuring the project not only keeps moving forward but also stays on budget and delivers on the ROI initially outlined.

Long gone are the days of organizations adopting a major technology platform such as ERP or CRM and the CFO finding out at quarter’s end that it cost more than anticipated and doesn’t deliver on its promise. There is too much at stake now.

Any technology hiccup, server crash or data breach can cripple an organization. Downtime is not just unproductive, it amounts to lost business.

The CFO is here to stay when it comes to IT decisions. Solution providers need to make their peace with it.

About the Author(s)

Elliot Markowitz

Elliot Markowitz is a veteran in channel publishing. He served as an editor at CRN for 11 years, was editorial director of webcasts and events at Ziff Davis, and also built the webcast group as editorial director at Nielsen Business Media. He's served in senior leadership roles across several channel brands.

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