How to Foster the CFO and CIO Relationship

Image via Flickr by Siddartha Thota

When we think of a chief financial officer engaging with senior management, we typically envision the CFO working with the CEO or members of the board. The reality, however, is that as technology continues to improve and shape the way we do business, it’s increasingly important for the CFO to figure out how to best leverage enterprise technology. While being more involved with the IT department is a start, it isn’t enough. Rather, CFOs and CIOs must learn to work in tandem to steer the IT function for the benefit of the business.

If the CFO holds the purse strings, then the CIO holds the cable wires. Just like any other professional relationship, learning to merge two resources isn’t as simple as it sounds, but the two create a powerful synergy that benefits any business in any industry. The key to getting the CFO and CIO relationship to flourish is to recognize the four key categories that unify these separate worlds:

  • Governance
  • Return on investment
  • Portfolio management
  • Communication

As technology rises to the forefront in these categories, the technological value is critical to driving business growth and success. Furthermore, as CFOs assume more responsibility over the IT function, the organizational shift cannot be underestimated.

Here are the key factors that CFOs and CIOs must achieve in order to gain clear communication for realistic expectations:

  • Agility. We live in an uncertain world – economically and socially. The status of something could literally change overnight. Thus, the antidote to uncertainty is business agility. How quickly can your business respond? Technology such as Cloud computing boosts this.
  • Cost. For the CFO, cost transparency is going to be one of the key issues of any endeavor. However, because a CIO is more familiar with technological offerings than Cloud and other solutions, more can be accomplished with the same budget – or less. Combine the two worlds and voila! Your cost objective has been met.
  • Risk. CFOs must always consider the risk factors in any decision, especially technology. Fortunately, CIOs have the expertise needed to responsibly and effectively manage data and security in digital technology in almost any business situation.
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