One in Nine CFOs See High Return Benefits from IT

Approximately 57 percent of CFOs believe they are getting an acceptable return from their technology investments, according to a survey jointly released earlier this month by Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF) and Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC).

For the 10th year in a row, the Technology Issues for Financial Executives study looked at technology concerns among some of the people most influential to IT?the holders of the purse strings.

The survey showed that financial executives continue to hold a high level of power over IT activities, with the model of the CIO reporting to the CFO remaining the most likely reporting structure among those surveyed. Overall, 41 percent of organizations ask CIOs to report to CFOS, compared to 33 percent reporting to the CEO.

The 629 CFOs surveyed reported that IT spending at their organizations has increased over the last three years and?in spite of the softening economy?IT spending would still see moderate increases this year. Although more than half of CFOs reported that they received medium to high returns on technology benefits, only one in nine said they received a high return.

Thirty-four percent said that achieving the expected benefits from IT investments is still a critical issue for their organization. In spite of this, only about 41 percent of respondents said their organization conducted postcompletion audits among IT projects.

Although ROI remains important to the bean counters, the highest concern was over improving data quality within the enterprise, with 42 percent rating that as a critical issue. Nearly 70 percent of those interviewed reported that information integrity has negatively affected business performance. Surprisingly, though, fewer than half said they have formal programs to monitor and report on information integrity.

"It’s somewhat surprising that more organizations don’t already have improvement programs and measurement mechanisms in place," says Michael Cangemi, president of Financial Executives International, which runs FERF, in a statement.

Also of interest was the need for improved access to corporate performance management (CPM) information. This analytical information, which is used to support decision-making and monitor performance, was ranked as the number one need among 45 percent of financial decision-makers. More CFOs said this year that they plan to invest in CPM-based technologies, with 68 percent claiming CPM investments are in the works.


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