Finding a Common Language
The skills gap refers to a problem that is simple to state but hard to solve: Finance and IT need to learn each other’s language to more quickly find common ground. For CIOs, a lack of technology and data literacy skills within the finance team is the second biggest barrier to digital finance transformation. CFOs, meanwhile, say that a lack of financial literacy skills within IT is their biggest barrier to digital finance transformation progress.
“IT teams are asking for finance people to be more tech-savvy, to understand solutions and provide quicker decisions,” says Steve Bayssat, head of international finance shared services at Applus+, in the report. “But IT teams are also switching away from the traditional systems’ maintenance and ownership that they had before to a more strategic role.”
Opposing Technology Goals
The technology gap is really the story of how legacy technology wasn’t built for the modern speed of business. One of the most interesting points the research uncovered—and in our opinion, the crux of most CFO-CIO difficulties—is that 57% of CIOs agree that their aim to eliminate IT complexity is directly at odds with the expanding scope of the finance function. Meanwhile, 41% of CFOs admit that their CIO does not have a seat at the table during critical finance meetings—even when technology is essential to solving a challenge.
Legacy systems are a challenge for all business functions, but it is particularly difficult for IT to reconcile existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems with the need to implement more flexible technology solutions. Out of the CFOs we surveyed, 54% say their legacy ERP systems are not flexible enough to meet the needs of today’s business environment, and 65% of CIOs feel the same.
It’s important to note that CIOs want to deliver transformative change, but they are constrained by resources. To wit, 54% of CIOs say that ERP modernization is critical but they do not have time to undergo such a sizable transformation, and 41% agree that limited time, budget, and/or resources hamper their team’s ability to simplify legacy finance systems and eradicate technical debt.
Although the challenges loom large for both CFOs and CIOs, the report includes recommendations from business leaders on how finance and IT can get aligned to move the business forward.
Download the full report, “The CFO-CIO Relationship: The Path to ERP-Enabled Finance Transformation,” for finance leaders and for IT leaders. Or, visit our digital experience for industry-specific findings and other insights.