IT Project Considerations for Chief Financial Officers

Image via Flickr by Dell Inc.

As CFOs continue playing more influential roles outside of their financial duties, their importance in IT projects and strategies continues to grow. Because CFOs have clout and are able to maintain an independent perspective that considers what’s best for the company, they’re in a position to effectively lead hardware and software development and implementation. With nearly 70 percent of technology projects being declared failures and almost 20 percent of projects being cancelled before completion, CFO’s have the opportunity to spearhead major IT projects.

Chief financial officers can achieve this through:

  • Promoting a unified vision. Because CFOs work across the entire organization from investors to various departments to the executive board, they have broad perspective and sway. The CFO can be a major advocate for the CIO and other key IT players.
  • Integrated planning. Most IT projects that fail do so because the financing isn’t fully thought out. When setbacks occur or the project takes longer than usual, the technological initiative is jeopardized. By being clear with IT project budgeting, CFOs can prevent the competition for resources later down the road.
  • Communicating. Because CFOs are so used to communicating with hard numbers and without any fluff, they can easily cut through the jargon with any reporting. They can similarly ensure that the IT initiatives are properly communicated and managed.

How CFOs Should Manage IT Initiatives

To ensure that the right projects are pursued and that every initiative receives the financial support it deserves, CFOs should have keys to assessing projects and their performance. CFOs should ask questions such as:

  • Do the projects we’re investing in today support the company’s long-term goals? And how can we communicate this effectively to stakeholders and investors?
  • What’s the correlation between these IT projects and our strategic objectives? Can our current portfolio support the initiatives?
  • Can we afford to allocate resources in an effective way without limiting or taking away from current projects?
  • Are we getting the results that we want from existing projects? And how can we ensure that we achieve the desired results from new initiatives through metrics and tracking key milestones?