Survey Reveals Top of Mind CFO Technology Issues

By - March 15, 2018

Capabilities, Not Costs, Define IT Outsourcing

A recent CFO Research survey of middle-market senior finance executives, conducted in collaboration with RSM, finds that the top benefits of outsourcing information technology (IT) activities today are “freeing internal resources for other purposes” and “gaining access to world-class capabilities”—benefits cited by 57 percent and 50 percent of the respondents, respectively. Reducing and controlling costs was cited by only 32 percent of survey respondents.

Most survey respondents believe they can gain continuous access to top-shelf technology—and still improve the predictability of their costs—by embracing a managed IT approach. Indeed, nearly seven in ten—69 percent—agree that a trusted IT services provider can do a better job than the typical company can do on its own. And 60 percent say they would be comfortable having a trusted managed IT services provider deliver not some, but all, of their company’s IT functionality. A modern, managed IT provider can deliver not just tactical but strategic support as technology becomes ever more critical to keeping companies a step ahead of competitors.

For more information, read External Affairs, Using Managed IT Services.

Looking for Higher Value in the Cloud

This same survey of middle-market finance executives finds that more than half of their organizations—53 percent—are using cloud-based services for fundamental applications such as data storage and network hosting. Relatively few companies, however, have migrated higher-value activities to the cloud. Just 16 percent are using it for data analytics, for example, and only 10 percent for marketing automation. That’s about to change.

Asked where their companies see clear value in implementing new technologies, 69 percent of survey respondents cited mobile applications and 45 percent ticked big data and predictive analytics. Next were social enterprise and Internet of Things, each cited by 24 percent of respondents. This suggests that the traditional, tactical cloud services that companies have embraced most widely to date will be supplemented by the higher-order services—because the ultimate goal of technology is not to replace current functionalities but to enable future ones.

Demographics will likely drive further migration to the cloud as well. As millennials steeped in technology from a young age become an ever-larger percentage of the workforce, and grow more and more comfortable using the cloud for sophisticated applications, companies will increasingly see that a cloud-based infrastructure can yield a competitive advantage, one that allows them to adapt quickly to fast-shifting marketplace demands.

For more information, read Reaching for the Cloud.

Managing the IT Talent Crisis

A new CFO Research survey, conducted in collaboration with RSM, finds that 49 percent of senior finance executives at middle-market companies say their businesses are being adversely impacted by their ability to attract and retain qualified technology talent. Within that group, these executives say the business functions most severely impacted are operations, finance, and IT.

Asked to identify their most difficult IT-related talent issues, 40 percent of the finance executives surveyed cited out-and-out “technical competency,” followed closely by the 36 percent who cited “strategic planning and vision.”

The good news coming from the survey is that managed IT services today can assist companies in both creating a strategic vision for their IT function and in transforming themselves into digital enterprises. Indeed, 50 percent of the finance executives surveyed identified access to world-class capabilities as one of the top benefits of outsourcing IT activities. More than two-thirds of the finance executives surveyed—69 percent—say a trusted managed IT services provider can do a better job of delivering IT services than the typical company can do on its own. And a stunning 60 percent now say they would be comfortable having a managed IT services provider deliver all of their company’s IT functionality.

For more information, read America’s Got Talent…But Not Enough IT Talent.

View the infographic showing a complete analysis of survey results and download a copy of the Top-of-Mind CFO Technology Issues ebook.

National Technology Day ebook

A complete analysis of middle-market finance executive survey results.

Diego Rosenfeld is a principal in RSM’s Boston office, serving as the national go-to-market leader for managed IT services (MITS) and a member of the RSM managed technology services leadership team. As go-to-market leader, Diego oversees MITS product strategy and regional and market-based client engagement teams. He works hand in hand with RSM industry teams to develop managed services that integrate our rich capabilities into scalable, industry-relevant offerings.

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