Sunday, June 26, 2011

The CFO Is Not Happy

According to a recent survey conducted by Financial Executives International and Gartner 42% of IT organizations now report directly to CFOs. This is hardly a new trend and the number is only expected to increase.

So we all kind of saw this coming (see The Future of the IT Department), but what may surprise some of us is that the CFO is just not impressed with IT. Apparently, the CIO is too focused on IT and is not paying enough attention to the business.

Clearly it is time to get serious about finding ways to minimize the time spent within the IT department. It is time to get out there. Rather than working hard to apply yet another security patch, IT should be working within the business to understand its needs. And don't take these requirements back to the IT department. Instead, IT should be working with external service providers that can deliver (parts of) what the business needs.

When IT truly understands the business and is able to respond quickly to new business requirements by bringing the right parties together, the CIO will become the CFO's strategic partner.

For many IT departments this may still seem like a radical transformation. But don't worry; this should be a gradual transition. Start with something relatively simple and with limited risk. Start for example with the IT service management application. OK, you are right. That is hardly 'getting out there', but it is a good place to gain experience with minimal impact on the business.

Once your IT department is using ITRP as its ITSM service, you will realize how much time this frees up. And because ITRP lets you track the SLAs of all services that you outsource, you will be ready to slowly push more and more work out to external providers without losing control. ITRP even makes it possible for your IT specialists to collaborate with the specialists of your outsourcers.

This is an easy way to start benefiting from the cloud. At the same time it ensures that you can stay in control when the business starts to use cloud services.

Worried that you will not have enough left to do? Fear not. As you learn more about the core business you will discover that there are plenty of opportunities for automation with a compelling ROI. Together with the business you will increase the speed at which your organization's efficiency improves. The compounding nature of this will cause the business to grow faster and faster.

When the business starts to regard IT as the key enabler of its improvement initiatives, you will not need to worry about your job. There is just too much that can still be improved.