Logicalis Survey: CFOs and CIOs Aren't Communicating; CFOs Say IT Requests Lack Details, Justification

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New Logicalis report focuses on IT metrics that matter to CFOs in a slowing economy; aims to help IT professionals bridge communications gap with CFO decision makers.

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Below that I have a steward role which includes keeping a knowledgeable grip on how investments are expected to payoff. For competing or complex IT investments, I need insight beyond the estimated ROI percentage.

In a slowing economy where every last dime spent is being scrutinized, Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) said a lack of "details" or "justification" forms their single biggest source of frustration (67 percent) with technology requests that come across their desks. And a staggering one in four CFOs said they receive those inadequate IT requests on a weekly basis. The results come from a survey conducted by Gilleard Market Research and commissioned by Logicalis (http://www.us.logicalis.com), a global provider of high-performance technology.

To help IT professionals strengthen communications with their financial counterparts, Logicalis has developed "Making IT Matter: Getting to Yes" a report that discusses the business motivators and strategies involved in receiving CFO-level approval for IT requests. The complimentary guide is available for download here.

The CFO survey respondents represent numerous industries and come from companies with revenues up to $1 billion. Overall, the responses point to a communications gap between the CFO and the IT manager or Chief Information Officer. CFOs say they need more information to intelligently respond to budget requests for IT projects. Some 88 percent said financial metrics would be somewhat or very helpful, and 71 percent said cost saving calculators would be very helpful.

A recognized leader in application services, business information management, enterprise computing, managed services and unified communication technologies, Logicalis developed the report to provide guidance and perspective for IT professionals on what matters to CFOs when seeking approval for IT budget requests.

One example comes from Logicalis' own CFO, Greg Baker, who participates in the annual development of an overall strategic plan identifying the direction the company wants to take during the coming year and serving as a reference point for all the capital and operational spending decisions he has to make, including spending on technology.

"At the highest level, my role as CFO is to participate in determining the strategic direction of the company and to communicate where we are going to shareholders and lenders," says Baker. "Below that I have a steward role which includes keeping a knowledgeable grip on how investments are expected to payoff. For competing or complex IT investments, I need insight beyond the estimated ROI percentage."

Among the insights and perspectives Logicalis experts recommend is a "charter of projects" model, which enables IT professionals to better manage requests from their various constituents, and a rating tool to help systematize technology decisions.

Here are some key factors to be considered and weighed in making a decision about a new IT initiative:

  • Mandate - Is this initiative being undertaken to address a legal/contractual obligation? Is this a directive from the CEO?
  • Urgency - When must this initiative be completed?
  • Risk - What effect will this initiative have on the security of the company's applications or operations?
  • Productivity - How much will this initiative increase productivity?
  • Impact - What kind of business, strategic, tactical or operational impact will this have?
  • Customer Service - How will this initiative improve customer-service levels?
  • Alignment - How well does this initiative support the organization's goals and objectives?

Each variable has a set of choices that generates a "Decision Weight", making it possible to prioritize one technology solution relative to another. The logic of this approach is that it provides talking points that focus discussions between the IT director and the CFO on the relative importance of a specific project within the context of an organization's needs.

"This rating tool helps everyone speak the same language" said Baker. "It signals approval odds right up front and consistently guides a good discussion. For high scoring projects we'll say 'Yes,' faster and with confidence."

Want to try the rating tool for yourself? Logicalis has developed the "Logicalis IT Request Rating Calculator" which is designed to help IT professionals gauge the rating their IT requests might receive from their CFOs. The complimentary online tool is available here.

About Logicalis
Logicalis is a global provider of high-performance technology solutions. With over 1,500 people worldwide, Logicalis delivers smart solutions based on specific needs, not the latest IT trend. Logicalis provides options, direction and support to more than 6,500 corporate and public sector customers. The company attributes its success to the everyday positive experiences with its customers and strategic partners such as IBM, HP, and Cisco.

Logicalis has annualized revenues in excess of $1 billion, from operations in the UK, US, Germany and Latin America. Logicalis is a division of Datatec Limited (LSE/JSE:DTC), a $3.2 billion multi-national organization listed on the AIM market of the LSE and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. With over 30 offices in the United States, the company's U.S. headquarters are in Bloomfield Hills, MI. For more information about the Logicalis experience, visit http://www.us.logicalis.com.

Media contacts:
Lisa Dreher, VP, Marketing & Business Development, Logicalis, Inc.
lisa.dreher @ us.logicalis.com; 425-201-8111
http://www.us.logicalis.com

Arthur Germain, Principal, Communication Strategy Group for Logicalis
agermain @ gocsg.com; 631-239-6335
http://www.gocsg.com

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