Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, Skynet has John Conner. A mere five years ago if you were a Technology Executive your principle antagonist was your Chief Financial Officer. To yesterday’s CFO you posed a threat to their general ledger. You were a Cost Center that resembled Larry Elison’s petty cash fund. You did things to the companies efficiency ratio that seemed criminal. Regardless of the innovation you created or the systems you maintained, most of those CFO’s just didn’t understand.
Roll the calendar forward several years and with the emergence of technology as a critical business element, there is a new found cooperation between the “techies” and the “accountants”.
So who emerged from the countless board room throwdowns as the winner? I’m reminded of the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail, who proclaimed “We’ll call it a draw“, with the winner being the organization. When a company views technology as an asset vs. a cost center, the business is now free to explore new products and services, increased security counter-measures, architecture vs. point solutions. A mature company that values technology is poised to be highly competitive.
I was once asked, what created this “de-tante”? Where did this spirit of cooperation come from? I look at the reduced cost of technology being a key contributor. If you went looking for a hosting provider several years ago, the companies you spoke to were few in numbers and they fetched a ridiculous high cost. The only thing more nebulous that the phrase “cloud” was what went into the cost for cloud services. Today all you need do is Google cloud providers and spyware will lead them straight to you inbox.
The other thing I enjoy pointing out is “the adversary of my adversary is my friend”. Today’s CFO is aware that there are really bad actors out there. If your business gets hacked, the cost of reputational loss can make for a financially crippling annual report. Your CFO knows that it cost to have state-of-the-art. There has been a posture shift from how much money IT is spending to how well IT is spending money. Todays CFO’s are also far more technology savy than they have been in the past. Gone are the days where a CFO glazes over when the IT Director is explaining Citrix Xen vs. VMWare. In days gone by, you could almost hear the theme from Meow Mix playing in the background of their mind, while you explained the benefits of Anti-Virus software.
All of that said, there are still organizations where such strife still exists. If you find yourself in an adversarial relationship, you are a candidate for Midwest Cloud Computing Virtual Chief Information product. We can be the common ally that can bridge the gap between IT and other organizations within your company.
Raymond (Jay) Garren is a Managing Partner at Midwest Cloud Computing