Over the past decade, digital transformation has taken a central place in today's enterprise. To succeed, organizations must make bold technology investment decisions in line with corporate strategy, while managing cyber security risks and data privacy concerns.
This critical convergence of technology, investment strategy and risk has elevated the CFO-CIO relationship to new levels of importance. However, in many organizations there is still opportunity to build stronger, long-lasting relationships between the CFO and the CIO.
Below are three ways successful IT leaders are partnering with the CFOs to drive game-changing transformations for their businesses:
1. Enable Finance Transformation
The Finance function is central to digitalization, as it allocates resources, but it frequently lags in applying technologies. Finance often (rationally) allocates IT investments to the revenue-generating and customer-facing areas while managing processes manually within its own function. Many Finance organizations continue to spend most of their time gathering and validating data for internal and external reporting, leaving little bandwidth to support strategic needs of the business.
IT leaders have an opportunity to partner with CFOs to drive digital transformation within Finance functions. Newer technology, such as Artificial Intelligence and RPA, are enabling automation of labor intensive processes in accounting, invoice processing and payroll management. Such transformation gives Finance the opportunity to expand their focus on efficiency and compliance, while evolving their organization to focus on developing strategies, responding to volatility, and capturing new opportunities and business models.
2. Create an Analytics-Driven Organization
Most organizations are working to turn data into actionable business insights, but few have succeeded in fully harnessing the power of their data. While BI and Analytics remain top priorities for most CIOs, information governance, data quality and cultural challenges continue to inhibit progress.
To raise their game in using data and analytics for competitive advantage, organizations must apply the right combination of technologies, processes and strategies. To be successful, such effort must be sponsored by both IT and business leaders. This is another excellent opportunity for CIO and CFO partnership. Together, they can lead a cultural transformation, helping their organization connect the dots between multiple data streams to identify patterns that will optimize company's growth and align its costs with its strategy.
3. Manage Cybersecurity Risks
The growing number, frequency and impact of cyber-attacks have propelled cybersecurity to the top of the CFO and board agendas in recent months.
Today's cybercriminals are well-funded, organized structures with the patience to infiltrate company's systems over time to obtain critical information. The infiltrators now have long-term strategies, including attempts to manipulate company's share price, alter financial data, or interfere with large-scale financial transactions.
CFOs must play a greater role in partnering with CIOs to manage cybersecurity, mitigate risks, and protect organization's shareholder value.
The relationship between the CFO and the CIO has always had a strong cost dynamic. IT spend as a percentage of revenue used to be a key metric, and CFOs played a critical role in managing IT project overruns and monitoring costs. Today, technology is becoming crucial to both operational excellence and profitable growth. This creates tremendous opportunities to elevate the CIO and CFO relationship and create new partnerships for transformation, innovation and growth.
Join us on Thursday, April 19th at the Union League Club in Chicago for a partnered event by SIM Chicago and Finance Executive International (FEI) for an opportunity to discuss Cybersecurity and network with your IT peers and Finance executives in the Chicagoland area.