Only 5 percent of CIOs can authorize IT investments alone

CFO influence in IT is growing as
CFOs alone have authorized 26 percent of all IT investments, while CIOs alone
have authorized only 5 percent of IT investments, according to a recent joint
study by Gartner, Inc., Financial Executives Research
Foundation (FERF) and the Committee of Finance & IT (CFIT) of Financial
Executives International (FEI). The survey also showed that 42 percent of IT
organizations report directly to the CFO, and 33 percent of IT organizations
are reporting to the CEO.

The survey of CFOs,
which is in its third year, is designed to gather perceptions from financial
executives about technology, key trends and planned improvements to operations.
The Gartner/FERF technology study, conducted from October 2010 through January
2011, included 344 respondents who were qualified in providing a perspective on
technology deployment within the enterprise. Sixty-six percent of the
respondents were CFOs, 9 percent were business unit CFOs, and 95 percent could
be considered senior financial executives.

The survey results varied by the size of the
company. For example, in companies with less than $50 million in revenue, 47
percent of IT departments report to the CFO. Fifty-eight percent of companies
with revenue of more than $50 million and less than $250 million have IT
departments that report to the CFO, while 46 percent of companies with $1
billion or more in revenue have IT reporting to the CFO.

“This high level of reporting to the
CFO, as well as their influence in technology investments, demonstrates the
need for companies to ensure that their CFO is educated on technology, and
underscores just how critical it is that the CIO and CFO have a common
understanding on how to leverage enterprise technology,” said John
Decker, research vice president at Gartner.

“This year’s results show an increasing enterprise
requirement for greater financial control of technology initiatives in the
firm, as well as better alignment between the technology and the strategic
direction of the enterprise, with the CFO primarily leading this
coordination,” said Bill Sinnett, director of
research at FERF.


Senior financial executives were asked how to
ensure that the relationship between the business and IT is successful and effective.
The responses pointed to a clear ownership of the project (38 percent), the
business case for the project (37 percent) and the project management (36
percent). Business partnering and sound project management continue to have
more of an impact on IT investment success than technology prowess.


The survey also showed that senior financial
executives expect IT spending to recover conservatively in 2011, with 38
percent of respondents saying that they do not expect this growth to reach the
level experienced before the recession in 2008. Forty percent see the level of
growth consistent with 2010; just 6 percent expect the economy to rebound this
year beyond 2008 levels.

By Team
[email protected]