Getting the CFO On Board with Team Collaborationon 19 April 2017
Cloud computing and related technologies are becoming increasingly attractive to smaller businesses, and it’s not hard to see why. This trend is simply following in the footsteps of all of the technological advances of the last few decades – designed to, among other things, help smaller businesses compete more effectively with large corporations. And it works.
Over the last couple of decades, we’ve seen small and mid-sized companies gain market share in a wide cross-section of industries, and one of the keys to this success is improved technological tools.
While the tools and methodologies and capabilities may be new, they are bringing an old conflict back to life. Since the dawn of time there has been a struggle for power between visionaries and their finance departments. In one corner, we have the creative forces of industry, inventive and innovative minds pushing companies to find better solutions to larger and more complex problems. And in the other corner are the accountants, the actuaries, and the auditors who work hard to ensure that these companies’ actions are financially responsible.
It’s an ongoing struggle. IT managers and CIOs are pushing to bring cloud computing into their businesses, citing the many advantages that the cloud provides. They produce case studies and white papers and executive proposals that show the value that cloud computing can bring in terms of increased efficiency and productivity and opportunity. At the same time, finance managers and CFOs have historically been rewarded for being conservative and careful. It’s literally their job to take a cautious approach to business spending, so it makes sense that this conflict continues.
It’s important that IT leaders understand that this conflict exists, and work to mitigate it whenever possible – and the way to do that is to answer one specific question before starting any big migration project: Is this move designed to improve, or merely to replace? This is the question a conscientious finance offer is going to ask anyway, so it’s best to have an answer ahead of time.
Why are we moving toward cloud computing? Are we really just looking to get ‘the latest thing’ or to play with the coolest toys or to ‘keep up with the Joneses?’ Or are we truly looking to take advantage of all that the cloud has to offer in order to transform the way we do business? Are we planning to adopt new methods that will increase our productivity? Will we incorporate new exciting tools like Glasscubes’ team collaboration software and improved project management applications into our workflow? In general, will it actually change the way we work – or do we just want to look cool?
The finance folks are right: if we’re just doing this to look cool, we don’t need to be doing it. But just knowing that isn’t enough. If we want to get the finance department to be on the same page with us, we need to add an element to our proposal. It may not be enough to show how a transition to the cloud will improve the way we conduct our business…. we should show the finance people how the transition will actually help them do their jobs! We should point out how cloud computing tools will improve their ability to analyse financial information, speed up reporting, and better control project budgets. We need to help them understand how streamlined business processes and improved efficiency can lead to reduced costs and increased profit margins. Basically, if we want to bring the CFOs on board, we need to have an answer when they ask, “But what’s in it for me?”
The move to the Glasscubes solution is about more than just technology. It’s about a mind-set. The transition requires a change in the way our companies think – and in order to make this transition a success, we need to be sure that our companies are ready for change. We need to show the finance managers that we aren’t just changing for the sake of change. We need to show the executive managers that the change is warranted in terms of company value. We need to know that our employee base is ready for the change in corporate culture that may come.
Once we’re satisfied with these answers, once we’ve ensured that the change will be beneficial to the company as a whole, once we’ve shown that we’re ready for the changes this new cloud infrastructure will bring to us, then we’re ready to move forward – ready to embrace the future.
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