CFO versus CIO: IT Procurement in the Cloud

CFO versus CIO: IT Procurement in the CloudFor as long as there has been technology, there has been a struggle for power between the enterprise CFO and CIO.  The reasons aren’t at the level of rocket science… they’re actually pretty straightforward.  The CFO simply wants to know what the expected return on the investment will be.  The CIO knows there is not always a straight line to be drawn between an IT expenditure and a near-term positive business outcome.  Sometimes it takes a while to reap the benefits of an IT project… and sometimes it’s necessary to spend the money just to maintain status quo.

There is evidence, however, that things may be changing a bit – evidence that the CFO’s influence in the enterprise may be extending more into the areas where the CIO traditionally ruled, and it’s due – at least in part – to SaaS and the Cloud.

A survey performed by Gartner and Financial Executives International revealed a number of interesting results which indicate that the balance of IT procurement power may be shifting within the enterprise.  344 senior financial executives were surveyed, and they revealed that:

  • in 45% of organizations, the CFO makes or leads IT investment strategy
  • about 75% of surveyed CFOs said they have little confidence in their own IT departments

A CFO.com article on the subject also mentions a KPMG study from April, in which it was reported that “73% of CFOs identified IT as the greatest risk to finance meeting its objectives”.

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