Finding CIO/CFO Common Ground

Who should the CIO thank for his/her current status as a key business partner and IT innovation guru? How about Y2K? Christian Lanng, in an article for InformationWeek, ties the current popularity of CIOs with the menacing computer bug that many feared would collapse digital civilization in the new millennium.  When businesses realized their computer systems represented a threat to stability as much as a driver of innovation, they brought the CIO to eye level with the CFO and never looked back.

Digital Agility is the New Money

Fast forward fifteen years and these two roles, CIO and CFO, have gained some of the other’s competencies:

The advent of cloud-based computing, massively scalable machine learning, big data, platform- and software-as-a-service, and the mobile-first enterprise is not simply evolution. It's a revolution. Businesses are redesigning around these new methods of technology delivery. Small businesses can now potentially play on a level playing field with big businesses, because they can simply plug into an outsourced infrastructure that would otherwise cost squillions to create. Because of this, it is a strategic imperative of big businesses to be nimble and evolve. The alternative is to become obsolete and have their lunch eaten by upstarts and disrupters.

CIOs Dream of Finance

That brings us to ‘cost of change.’ And change, to be sure, is the name of the game for today’s CIO. Any decision involving the transformation of IT is going to entail some form of investment and cost transformation. Whether it’s prioritizing which functions or units to update, assessing the impact of change, or assessing speed of implementation, the CIO will want their CFO peer to be right behind them with financial advice they can ‘count’ on.

CFOs Dream of Technology

On the other hand, in order for CFOs to adequately assist their techno-savvy counterparts, they must be familiar with critical systems, data flow, and other IT interrelationships that constitute the nervous system of today’s business. This will assist investment decisions in the technologies that only the CIO knows best. Together this pair can generate value from transformations that will fuel additional changes to make the business better, faster, and stronger.

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