Using IT well brings in new business and helps maintain the existing. This will become more important as we continue to harmonize on the cloud. I argue IT is therefore strategic and should be part of the CEO team.
But with the highly sophisticated CFO as a major influencer with a significant roles in running the business, they now understand IT use for both growth and control, Hence they are taking control of IT. Commercially we will see this more as IT applications management devolves to the cloud See my post http://www.performancecontroller.com//2010/07/cfo-x-factor-as-vendors-drive-for-internet-cloud-power/
Counter to that being a good thing, many businesses that make IT part of the CFO function on the logical basis it uses most of the data and hence needs control of how it is managed by IT, may lose sight of marketing sales and operations needs and can constrain the business. A vexing question for sure but IT also needs to take good look at itself too, so they can service and be strategic all areas. I believe only the CEO can make sure that happens and should.
That’s just what i think, but here is what some other CFO’s and CEO’s thought!
Arun Vasan • I think CFO is the person who is closely in touch with the IT issues on a day to day basis and thus he can deliver an effective result when the function to reports to him in terms of data security, effective internal controls etc.
Chuck Leindecker, CMA Many times because the lead finance position is responsible for SOX and SOD.
John Williams • The CFO is responsible for accurate and timely reporting. I have seen several organizations where IT did not report to the CFO with the result that IT did not assign appropriate priority to financial controls and financial reporting. This is a similar situation to having the outside sales people not report to the EVP of Sales, then holding that EVP accountable for their poor performance.
Doug Cate • Sometimes, it is a matter of talent and interest of key managers. Who of that group best fits in that function is also a matter of time management and efficiency. For example, if the CEO for instance wants the company to move to a paperless function, has a “thing” for technology, and it fits into his overall vision of the company, then perhaps he/she should lead the IT effort. However, this best functions when the “needs” of the CFO are met and understood, i.e. accounting controls and processes are addressed in the “solutions” for IT functions.
Richard Bonilla, • It’s all about information.
Spencer Brady • (Can Gartner be wrong? I don’t think so, at least not in this particular case.
IT must report to the COO, or to the CEO, otherwise, the organization will be left behind in the race to be first to market with newer, better, faster, cheaper products and services. This reality is due to business’ reliance upon IT for support, and moreover, for a ‘strategic advantage.’ The CFO is a vitally-important customer for IT, but, a customer nonetheless, who must compete for scarce IT resources.
Patrick Jongen • Reading the comments, it thought it was funny to see how people closely related to IT are questioning the fact that IT often report to the CFO) The role of the CFO is evolving well above pure finance with many CFO becoming the “CEO’s right hand”. In this elevated role the CFO is responsible for measuring the performance of the company. This implies using “INFORMATION” and information comes from “DATA”… obviously data comes from IT. Turning data into useful information was not always a success for IT in the past in many companies, leading to under performing organizations.
From this point CFO had 2 choices:
1. Asking/getting the responsibility for IT in order to get better support or
2. Starting parallel projects with as limited IT support as possible.
Today, we are seeing both situations.
Have you say. What do you think?