Digital transformation is no longer the preserve of the CIO. Today more and more, CFOs and finance teams have vital roles to play in harnessing the power of data and technology to drive efficiency and growth. A Gartner survey showed that CFOs plan to increase technology investments, with 82% saying they intend to increase investment in digital capabilities in fiscal year (FY) 2021 compared to FY20. The survey of 115 CFOs was conducted by Gartner between July – December 2020 also revealed that 70% of respondents intend to increase spend in information technology in this fiscal year.
“While CFOs are planning to increase their digital investments the survey also showed that they are less clear on what digital business means and the technologies with the most significant impact on their businesses. This could be a challenge.” said Lozada. “CFOs need a clear digitalization language and vision to focus their teams on the key investments and initiatives required to accelerate transformation. This clarity is needed to make coherent technology investments that enhance one another.”Gartner experts have three recommendations for CFOs planning their next digital steps:
1) Maintain a balanced technology investment portfolio: The technology portfolio must balance technology opportunities that can yield long term business value with low-effort, low-complexity initiatives (such as piecemeal automation) that have shorter payback periods.
2) Select technologies based on finance’s needs: Instead of picking technologies based on market trends, CFOs should begin with defining their business and finance objectives and then look for technologies that will assist in achieving those objectives.
3) Involve cross-functional stakeholders early: Limited visibility into the wider organization’s IT efforts will lead to overlaps and conflicts with other business units. CFOs can avoid this by consulting with other business units and central IT at each step of the technology roadmap, and this has the added benefit of facilitating buy-in at later stages.