Once communications styles are balanced and accounted for, Kambil says, CIOs must do a better job explaining the value of technologies to their CFOs. For example, the CIO can demonstrate the business process efficiencies associated with middleware in the event of mergers and acquisitions. "CIOs can play a better role in helping CFOs understand how technology is evolving, as well as helping them understand the architecture they're investing in," Kambil says.
Show accountability and deliver business value
CFOs meanwhile can help CIOs articulate how IT impacts key business processes. For instance, when discussing the sales process CFOs can help evangelize how the investment in IT will improve the information content of the process. Kark says well-informed CFOs can be the best partners for CIOs to have in conversations with CEOs and the corporate boards.
Because CIOs and CFOs often struggle to demonstrate accountability for technology investments, they should hammer out on a governance framework for IT investments that looks at strategic risks that can undermine management’s assumptions or the organization’s ability to achieve its goals.
“Ensuring that the business leaders are active and accountable stakeholders in the IT governance process and involved in supporting decisions around investments/risks and execution are often critical to the success of IT initiatives,” Kambil says. “If the business is missing from the IT governance framework, both the CFO and CIO can inadvertently end up making decisions on behalf of the business that aren’t fully informed by the business stakeholders.
A strong CFO-CIO partnership can improve their ability to align IT investment with strategic growth plans and business performance, satisfying or even impressing the CEO – something for which the CFO and CIO should both strive.
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