An interesting article published recently by CFO Research on The Digital CFO prompted my thoughts on the extended role of the CFO.
As IT becomes a digital experience for everyone in the organisation, so it has an increasingly profound effect on how business is conducted and the opportunities it presents. Everyone has a new expectation of what their digital experience should be (gained from use as a consumer) and the CFO needs to consider this when setting business processes and digital strategies, especially since digital strategies now support all aspects of the business from marketing, sales automation and customer support.
Digital expectations are inextricably linked to the financial realisation of these projects.
Everyone expects instant responses, they expect data to be interpreted in a meaningful way (be that structured or unstructured data and an ever increasing amount of it as well). We are even now using IoT in our daily lives and so similarly have an expectation that we can control, manage and access whatever is relevant to us in our business lives, from our phone. So the challenge grows for the CFO to ensure that this is a reality and to do so there needs to be accurate relevant data pooled into a company resource and delivered appropriately.
The CFO has to try and strike a balance between expectation and deliverability, between security and access, between process and flexibility, between cloud and on premise. These are all decisions that now centre around data, digital and the CFO.
It will come as no surprise how enormously the role of the CFO has changed, not least of which, in the area of Information and technology where a deeper understanding has become critical to oversee and govern the spend as well as to extract meaningful data and insight.
“They are no longer separate items. Without IT, you can’t do finance.”
A well-oiled IT system provides finance with all the information required on each aspect of the business; linking and reporting on key business indicators and displaying that to the right people, in the right manner, at the right time. But a CFO can’t just sit back and expect the numbers to be delivered, there needs to be collaboration and involvement of data in and data out and all aspects of the IT system touched along the way.
93% of the senior executives surveyed believe that CFO of the future will need a much stronger technology skill set that is currently required for the job. An impressive 64% of them have taken specific actions to upgrade their technology skills.
For a company to run efficiently they need smart business processes and an efficient IT system that underpins the financial and business decisions – inextricably linking the CFO and IT.
So I challenge you; how are you preparing to understand the financial impact of cloud migration and the change management required for infrastructure projects and cloud transformation? And how about software licensing and provisioning or even buying direct from the vendor which can give cost savings? And how do you balance that with the role of your trusted advisor, the supplier and VAR, who can help assess new applications, trends and technical innovations? How do you, as CFO get to the data and information you need to make the decisions?
So many savings and efficiencies to gain, so little time to evaluate them all – while the core mantra has to be “Business continuity”.
At Precision Point we continue to try and help with the personal edification and professional growth of the CFO and publish regular articles and guides that might assist. DataGovernance, User Adoption
PrecisionPoint – Where data becomes trusted insight
The Digital CFO article, please click here.