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Click on the images as they are released below for a more detailed overview of the research.
The Top Organisational Priorities
Strategic priorities across businesses have continued to focus on operational liquidity and greater efficiency. 56% believe that cash flow and working capital management are a key priority. 53% see long term operational efficiency as a key factor. Increasing profits/top line performance and reducing overall purchasing costs remain key business priorities – 52% and 47% respectively. This requirement for IT teams to evolve is keenly felt by CFOs. 64% think that the maintenance of the IT infrastructure is of great concern and only 19% are able to demonstrate clear ROI on all IT investments.
Technology: A Substantial Force for Business Change
An overwhelming majority (81%) of senior finance professionals agreed that IT innovation can prompt effective business change. However, a concern is the belief that without clear integration between CIOs and finance teams, real business damage will occur (56% agree) with a negative impact on IT cost savings. If the worries over infrastructure change and maintenance spend concern finance teams, then this does not appear to have affected the opinion that IT still provides a great return on investment (71% agree). This is in contrast to the previous finding that only 19% can demonstrate a return on IT investments.
The Need for Integration between Finance & IT
The perception of the finance teams is that a trend towards integration is increasing (48% agreed). Intriguingly, 35% felt that there was a decreased level of integration, while 15% felt there was no discernable movement. An increase in integration and a closer focus on IT from Finance will impact on the CIO’s role at a board level. Over the course of the next five years 47% of CFOs believe that the CIO will have more responsibility to the board. 43% agreed that the CIO will have greater integration with the CFO role, while 17% stated that the role could merge with other operational jobs and 13% believe the role will no longer exist.
Cloud on the Horizon
The broad understanding that implementing a Cloud based solution will boost efficiencies and make significant savings means that Finance teams have taken a keen interest in how IT has approached this subject. 39% of finance teams were involved once IT had raised the proposal, while 38% had been directly involved from the project’s initiation. The majority of finance professionals could give an accurate description of Cloud computing with just 2% unaware of the term. Top drivers for cloud adoption included: Agility and speed (40%), cost savings (36%), performance & growth (13%), wider organisation support (11%).
Collaboration and Consolidation of Finance & IT set to Continue
This course of collaboration and consolidation for Finance and IT is set to continue but will require understanding from both sides in order to reduce costs, make savings, innovate and implement positive organisational change. 40% believe there was a need for improvement in the understanding of IT strategy from senior finance teams; while 75% expressed a desire to show clear ROI on all, or the majority, of IT investment within the next 2 years. Collaboration and mutual knowledge-sharing are therefore key to a successful future. Understanding that new landscape is a challenge, however one that is too great, not to accept. The risk resides in staying exactly where you are.