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10 things the CFO wants from the CIO

Steve O’Neill | Sept. 21, 2012
Our respective spheres of influence have changed in business since I first started working, with focus oscillating between IT and Finance depending on latest technology, market trends, the economy and growth agendas.

8 Be a salesman

This is something that both CIOs and CFOs occasionally forget in my experience.

Remember to focus on the business benefit and to communicate appropriately to your audience.

An infrastructure upgrade pitch created in terms of 10x more storage space or improved IOPs of x will go right over the heads of senior management and they may miss the opportunity.

Conversely a pitch that focuses on the improvement of operational efficiency by x or the development of a new Go To Market is more likely to be well received.

9 Be accountable

One of the great frustrations of business is not knowing who owns what.

Those that put their head above the parapet and accept accountability can quickly become the go-to-people and command more respect than those that sit at the back of class, their hands firmly down.

10 Be innovative

IT is the great business enabler of the 21st century and is definitely not to be viewed as purely a hygiene factor and a cost.

As a CFO, I love finding new ways to change the way we do business and make our organisation a meaner and leaner machine, and technology is a key facilitator for that.

Knowing the business means spotting the weaknesses and knowing that IT can be the medium to turn these into opportunities.

CIOs are reporting into CFOs because some businesses see IT purely as a cost, and the CFO as the cost gatekeeper.

This viewpoint is dangerous and runs a significant risk of both parties playing to their stereotypical roles and stifling their personal development and that of their organisations.

Instead both CIO's and CFO's should seize the incredible technological opportunities that exist and work closely together regardless of reporting lines, focused purely on finding the Yes and driving innovation and growth in their businesses.

Steve O'Neill is CFO EMEA North at EMC Computer Systems


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