CFOs used to see IT as merely another expense to be minimized. Now, many are starting to view IT as a critical business resource, a recent Gartner survey found.
Henry Wallaesa, CEO of WGroup, an IT management consulting firm, explains in a Big Fat Finance Blog post that “IT provides a new source of opportunities for significant cost efficiency and organizational effectiveness that the CFO should exploit and leverage.”
He cites five trends that every IT-savvy CFO needs to watch. Companies should pay especially close attention to the first one.
- Consumerization of IT:A lot of financial companies resisted the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend, but it’s time for them to adapt. It’s not good enough to issue your employees a corporate BlackBerry. They’d rather use their own Androids and iPhones, and they won’t come to work at your company unless you let them do so.That said, companies don’t have to let their data go unprotected. Whenever you have financial information “out there” it’s important to be wary of it falling into the wrong hands. HP, for example, had a policy that its employees couldn’t work on a corporate computer while traveling. They didn’t even want the computer used within sight of other people outside the company.
- Convergence of ITO to BPO: This change enables a CFO to standardize components, slash the cost of negotiating contracts, and reduce staff for lower cost and better control.
- Commoditization of IT and business services: This also results in improved standardization and lower costs. A lack of control, however, is a potential downside. Business units also may decide to go directly to the market and bypass IT, the CFO and controls.
- Big data and analytics: This is another area that brings up control, standardization and security concerns. A big challenge for CFOs is to make sure that the data is secure and used consistently.
- Growing CFO interest in IT: No longer is IT kept at arm’s length. Instead, it’s embraced as an essential element of the business process, and a way to fuel revenue and growth. That’s a good trend, Wallaesa notes in the Big Fat Finance Blog post, because it means the business is taking responsibility for the use of IT.
Source: Big Fat Finance Blog, November 2012