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March 18, 2020

Four questions from the CFO to the CIO

By: Nicole Herm | Director Shared Services

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Advice from Faisal Quadri, who leads Oracle SIA in North America, about the CIO/CFO relationship.....

You sometimes hear people ask a CFO, “What keeps you up at night?” In my experience, there are as many answers as there are CFOs (including those who would say, “My partner’s snoring!”).

But there are certain universal challenges that are emerging, especially in organizations where the role of the CFO has evolved to include accountability for strategic business transformation.

In my prior role at Oracle, I established and managed a team in Asia Pacific that was involved in helping finance leaders structure strategic transactions and optimize their spend to drive ROI from Oracle investments. I’ve observed an even-closer alignment of CFOs with the technology that underpins their ability to achieve business transformation.

CFOs’ roles have changed. They’re now charged with modernization, risk management, and driving long-term transformation. According to Accenture, 81% of CFOs see identifying and targeting areas of new value across the business as one of their main responsibilities, and 77% of CFOs believe it is within their purview to drive business-wide operational transformation.

In other words, CFOs serve as an increasingly important bridge between IT and business units—and as such, it’s more important than ever for CFOs and CIOs to work together to build a modernized organization.

Four things the CFO should discuss with the CIO

Since CFOs aim to leverage technology and create a competitive advantage for their organization, they would do well to align with their CIOs about the following topics.

1.    How efficiently are we using our IT assets?

It’s a basic question, yes, but it’s essential to fully understand what assets you have, where they’re being used, and how much value you’re deriving from them. Without this visibility, it’s difficult to act effectively.

2.    How can we leverage our existing technology to achieve our business objectives?

It’s natural to gravitate toward the newest and shiniest technologies, but it’s worth considering your current investments. Are there ways you can create efficiencies or derive more value from them?

3.    How effective is our current IT governance framework?

The challenge of governance is only going to keep growing. There’s a misconception that IT governance matters less when moving to the cloud. In fact, as my colleague Sten Vesterli wrote, it matters even more. As he says, “a well-managed IT organization and strategy may be the most important factor in the success of cloud projects.”

4.    How does cloud fit into our strategic growth plans?

In my experience, successful customers leverage cloud as part of their business strategy to drive innovation and transformation.

As a CFO, it’s essential to understand how the direction of any IT transformation is aligned to wider business objectives.

At Oracle, we’ve created a team to support exactly this kind of conversation. Oracle Software Investment Advisory (SIA) aims to help customers optimize the value they get from their Oracle investments. Oracle SIA puts the focus on customer value by providing comprehensive insights into what technology investments you already have, what value they are driving, and how they could be optimized/better aligned to business strategy.

In other words, SIA provides strategic value where you need it most—which is just one of the many reasons I’m proud to be leading the Oracle SIA team in North America. You can see more about what we are doing with customers here: www.oracle.com/goto/sia

Four questions the CFO should discuss with Oracle SIA

You might be wondering, “What are some of the specific things Oracle SIA can help CFOs with?” I’m glad you asked!

SIA offers a range of consultative and advisory services, and we give straight answers to questions like:

1. Do we know exactly what all of our Oracle contracts entitle us to use?

2. What are we using from Oracle today, and what value have we got from our contracts?

3. What would be the most cost-effective way for us to deploy Oracle products in the future?

4. If we need to transform (e.g. by moving to the cloud), what is the smartest way to do that, working from our position today (based on our current usage and our contract status)?

While many of our offerings can help CFOs make more-informed decisions about their technology investments, I’d like to highlight two of our services in particular: Investment Economics and Deployment Optimization.

Investment Economics provides an in-depth financial analysis of your Oracle deployment based on usage data. This helps you discover the true value of your Oracle investments and determine how they’re supporting your business’s long-term goals. Similarly, Deployment Optimization helps you fine-tune your existing Oracle investments by identifying inefficiencies and delivering immediate, ongoing cost and performance benefits.

The combination of the two provides CFOs with the knowledge they need to ensure their organization is using the right technology, optimizing the value of its investments, and supporting strategic moves like M&A—but that’s a topic I’ll cover in my next article.

Director Shared Services
More about Nicole Herm

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