Finance chiefs seize control of tech spending

CIOs need to play nicely with the CFO over technology purchasing - but rarely do.

The CFO is becoming a top technology investment decision maker in many organisations - and in some cases is already the main driving force.

The CFO's role in technology decision making is increasing: 44 per cent of CFOs interviewed said their influence over IT investment has increased since 2010, while 47 per cent said it has remained the same and just nine per cent said it had declined, according to a study by Gartner and Financial Executives Research Foundation.

The survey said that while CFOs and CIO are well positioned to work together on business IT investments, this collaboration often fails to take place because of "a failure to invest in the CFO-CIO relationship".

CIOs would be unwise to ignore their relationship with the CFO, as the survey emphasised how much power the finance chief has over tech investment decisions.

Some 41 per cent of CFOs said they are the leader of a group responsible for IT investment, and another 41 per cent said they were part of such a group. Another 16 per cent said they provided advice and one per cent said they were the sole decision maker.

Some good news for CIOs: according to the survey, 44 per cent of CFOs are forecasting an increase in IT operational spending in 2012, and a slightly higher number - 48 per cent- see an upturn in capital spending too, with business intelligence and analytics top of the list.


Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of


A recent article by Brian Posey demonstrated why uninformed executives should not over rule IT Managers purchasing decisions. "I used to work for an organization that had a policy that all computer hardware purchasing had to go through the IT department. One of the department heads came to me for a quote on some new PCs. He didn???t like the price I gave him and decided to go shopping on his own. I don???t know where he found them, but the guy got a cut-rate price on some old Tandy 1000s. For those who may not be familiar with the Tandy 1000, it was a PC that was released by Radio Shack in 1984. This incident happened in 1999. So the computers the guy purchased were roughly 15 years old. He just couldn???t seem to understand why I refused to connect the computers to the network or why I was unnecessarily costing the company money by insisting that departments purchase modern hardware."

MyopicOne many places, which is why in many of those same places IT is starved, underresourced, and basically the whipping boy. When the dirty little truth is that IT does far more than Finance on a day-to-day basis.

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