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June 2013

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Exclusive New Third-Party Research: The CFO as a Catalyst for Change

Enterprises have counted on the cost management and operational skills of their CFOs to survive the economic turmoil of recent times. Now, as a host of disruptive technologies and new economic challenges surface, CFOs are being asked to use their growing stature to manage change and drive growth in their organizations.

Longitude Research conducted an exclusive new survey, commissioned by Oracle and Accenture, of 930 global finance executives. The resulting report, “The CFO as Catalyst for Change,” offers detailed insight into the new role of today’s CFOs and offers guidance on how they can become a leading force for business transformation in their organizations.

The new report also provides insights into current economic and technology challenges and shows how CFOs play a more active role than ever before. For example, more than 70 percent of CFOs say that their overall level of strategic influence has increased over the past three years. As a result, the study encourages CFOs to use this higher stature to drive change enterprisewide, not just within the finance function. In short, the report concludes, CFOs should become a key catalyst for change across the entire enterprise.

Becoming an effective change agent requires CFOs to demonstrate strong leadership, commercial and strategic insight, and the ability to overcome organizational resistance, the authors point out.

IT Infrastructures: Challenges
One area that requires particular attention is technology infrastructure. When asked which technology issues cause CFOs the greatest concern, 30 percent of respondents pointed to the cost of maintenance, while 29 percent cited the cost of integration, and 28 percent worried about the lack of integration between systems. Dealing with these legacy problems consumes a disproportionate amount of time and also prevents organizations from focusing their attention on exploiting more innovative technologies that can help improve competitiveness and drive growth, the report says.

But technology innovations also offer CFOs an opportunity to shape IT in a way that supports broader business goals, the study adds. Cloud computing, big data, analytics, and mobile and social technologies are having a dramatic impact across almost every business function and activity. Among the survey respondents, 57 percent agree that investments in big data and analytics will be a key source of competitive advantage.

IT Infrastructures: Opportunities
Finance leaders also have new opportunities. By collaborating with CIOs and other members of the management team, they can help implement cloud computing, mobile solutions, social technologies, and other innovations to achieve vital business objectives. The authors outline three key recommendations for technology change management.

  • Shift the focus from maintenance of IT systems to technology innovation
  • Develop a better understanding of how technology can support both the cost and growth agendas
  • Collaborate with other functional areas, including marketing and human resources, to ensure that technology investments enable the right business outcomes

“The CFO as Catalyst for Change” offers a variety of important insights into disruptive technologies and how CFOs can lead the transformation of their organizations. Download the full report today.

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