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The New CIO - CFO?

By SiliconIndia   |   Wednesday, June 13, 2012
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It is perplexing to conceptualize that some companies are contemplating on assigning duties to CFO's which are originally meant for CIO’s. Their reasoning is that CFO's can lend their expertise to IT for it to function in a more cost effective manner and also utilize their management skills in ensuring that maximum is derived in returns from the investments made in the IT projects, reports by Magazine.

While it may seem as an ingenious move at first, what these companies must not fail to realize that IT department has undergone a radical change and is more innovative based than it was ever before. As such, new trends are emerging in IT which needs to be properly studied by CFO's before actually taking over the new role. And without the requisite experience and skill, the end result might well be counterproductive for the organization.

This step would have been much welcomed, especially by the CFO's, had it been considered a decade back when IT department was mostly about managing cost and providing the necessary infrastructure. But with innovative technologies being tabled every day, it is not the same story. To broadly speculate on why a CFO would find it cumbersome to fit in the shoes of a CIO are:

  • Awareness among the consumers – Customers who are tech - savvy keep themselves updated with the latest offerings in the market and with the availability of internet, literally in their pockets, they educate themselves on the most modern of technologies. As such, IT must be ever ready to satisfy the hunger for these tech - savants.

  • Possible exploitation of IT - With great power comes great responsibility. And if these responsibilities are not met, it is just as easy to snub the source of power. Likewise, with the advent of new technologies, a CFO might find it hard to give priority to each of these trends accordingly. The only solution is to beam their focus on only those trends that are consumer friendly.

  • Lack of adequate resources - Inefficiency is primary hurdle in the path of IT due to lack of resources in the form of personals. Demand is sky rocketing but there are just not enough people to take care of them. Also the funding for projects, many of which lie stagnant, is a major factor for IT which needs to be overcome as to which project to prioritize for funding with regards to generate revenue for the company, as they are there in abundance.

  • Securing IT - Employees make use of various technologies in their work. Information regarding their company is there for taking for hackers who jump on the slightest opportunity to access to concerning information and take advantage of them. As such, securing the IT network is a task which CFO's will find hard to tackle without adequate knowledge in the subject.

These are the various challenges a CFO might come across while deaing with responsibilities of IT.

To put it in simple words, CFO's donning the hat of the CIO's, need to arm themselves with appropriate knowledge as to how innovation in IT could enhance the customer experience and what should be the criteria for funding a project, drive IT adoption, and extract the maximum from the investments made in the IT projects. Until then, there is a mountain for them to trek and disturbing part is that they do not even have the appropriate tools.

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