• Do CFOs Make Technology Decisions? Gartner Says Yes.

    Quick on the heels of a similar study, Gartner reports that CFOs are large, and in charge of technology investments, continuing to increase their control over IT decision making over the past 12 months.

    The joint study, by Gartner and Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), surveyed 255 CFOs to uncover IT investment sentiment and decision making practices, uncovering that as economic uncertainty continues, CFOs are gaining more control. The highest response, 44%, indicated an increase in influence over IT investments during the past year, while a mere 9% believe their influence has diminished.

    The role of the CFO in this frugal environment: to assure that precious investments are low risk / high reward and are perfectly aligned with realizing business objectives. Survey results were split in that 41% of CFOs are now the leader of the group responsible for IT investments, while 41% indicated were part of a stakeholder group responsible for collaborative IT decision making.

    For IT solution providers, the expanding influence of the CFO means that engagement is more difficult, involving more stakeholders with expanding control, but also critical in order to influence early strategy and budget justification, answering key buyer questions of “Why Change?” and “Why Now?”, and vendor competitive selection and financial approval, delineating “Why You?”.

    As CFOs tend to be more risk averse logical thinkers, they require financial proof points and tangible justification in their decision making process. Our advice: to engage CFOs sales and marketing needs to clearly quantify:

    1. The high cost of “doing nothing”
    2. Expected benefits, investments and risks
    3. Bottom-line impact

    Value-based tools can be used to directly engage CFOs, who currently prefer to independently leverage on-line content vs. in-person sales engagements, as well as arming sales with the provocative content needed to successfully get the CFO meeting.  And because getting to the CFO is not always possible the justification is essential for “selling up” in the organization, arming stakeholders with the credible analysis and research to justify investment plans with frugal CFOs.

    Tom Pisello founded Alinean, Inc., in 2001 where he coined the term, “Frugalnomics.” You can read his daily blog at Tom Pisello: The ROI Guy.

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