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CFOs are Prioritizing Digital Transformation

Rimini Street, Inc., a global provider of enterprise software products and services, recently revealed findings from a global survey of more than 1,500 CFOs and senior financial leaders across 13 markets covering most industries. The survey was conducted to identify CFO’s perceptions of digital transformation, their IT spending priorities, how they measure the ROI on technology investments and their viewpoints on the CFO-CIO partnership.

According to the survey report, when it comes to digital transformation and its significance amongst other corporate priorities, 80% of CFOs globally cite it is within the top-five of their list of priorities, 71% of CFOs surveyed believe that digital transformation investments are key to their company’s success and 77% said they would help the CIO find a way to fund a new digital transformation project if the initiative delivered strong ROI. In addition, 67% of CFOs say they “refuse to waste precious dollars on IT investments that don’t move the needle.”

Today’s modern CFO’s level of understanding of technology and its potential for delivering returns is higher than ever. When it comes to digital transformation, it is more than a buzzword for CFOs and definitely on their priority list. In addition to the large majority who cite digital transformation as a top-five priority compared to other corporate initiatives, 59% cite it is actually in their top three priorities. In addition, of the 80% of CFOs who expect their technology spending to increase in 2021, almost half (46%) say this growth in spending is being driven by new digital transformation investments.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers shifted dramatically to online channels and businesses responded by increasing digital investments. Although digital transformation was on the roadmap for many companies prior to 2020, the global pandemic removed internal barriers, aligned corporate teams and accelerated the adoption of technology to support new business critical requirements, from remote work to digital customer interactions to supply chain resourcing. Almost three of every four (73%) CFOs indicated that the global pandemic increased their digital transformation investment, and the vast majority of survey respondents (95%) agree that technology investments are key to recovering from the business impacts of the pandemic.

CFOS REFUSE TO WASTE PRECIOUS IT RESOURCES ON LOW VALUE PROJECTS
One of the CFOs’ primary considerations for IT spending is prioritizing those projects that yield positive business outcomes – 67% of CFOs surveyed agree that they “refuse to waste precious dollars on IT investments that don’t move the needle.” In addition, 70% of respondents say they want to cut spending on non-essential IT investments. When asked about the type of IT projects they personally prefer to cancel when they don’t see clear business value or strong ROI, responses included “next-generation disruptive technology initiatives” and “major ERP reimplementation and migration projects.” When there is not a strong ROI, technology for technology’s sake or forced by major ERP vendors does not satisfy CFOs that want to see strong business value for IT investments.

MAKE SURE YOUR BIG IT INVESTMENTS ARE CHOSEN WISELY
Large technology investments that may not have a clear business case, such as some vendor-forced ERP migrations and upgrades, may be better deferred or avoided and instead ERP systems can be optimized through strategies like third-party support, enabling the CIO to free up IT resources to help accelerate digital transformation programs.

In addition to providing a clear business case on new transformation projects, CFOs also expect the ROI on technology spending to be swift, with 46% of CFOs expecting to see ROI on their technology investment within two years, and the vast majority (82%) within 3-5 years.

Timing is also very important in terms of when the CIO should engage the CFO on a major new IT initiative. Most CFOs (88%) prefer that the CIO involves them before the business plan is fully crafted. In particular, 47% of CFO respondents would rather have the CIO engage as the business plan is being developed, and 41% want IT to partner with finance when the idea is fully formed but before the business plan is completed.

The CFOs growing acceptance of digital transformation initiatives, coupled with their willingness to support projects that have clear business outcomes means that they are increasingly willing to lead funding efforts for projects that demonstrate business value. When asked how they would respond to their CIOs digital transformation proposal requiring additional investment that would likely deliver a strong ROI, 77% of CFOs said they would help the CIO find a way to fund the project, and 28% of CFOs would even go to bat with the board to help the CIO secure needed funding.

To learn more, please visit riministreet.com.

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