Only 30% of CFO-CIO relationships are characterized by strong collegiality and business centricity, according to a recent survey by Gartner, Inc. These two key attributes define a strong digital partnership without which organizations struggle to find funding for digital initiatives, keep digital spending in line with the budget plan, and achieve intended digital business outcomes.
In the December 2021 survey of 183 executives (CFOs and CIOs) a strong CFO-CIO partnership that lead to the best digital investment outcomes was defined as being business centric (as opposed to function centric) and collegial (as opposed to adversarial).
“Inflationary headwinds are raising the stakes for CFOs to ensure that digital investments deliver productivity improvements and business outcomes that can offset margin erosion,” said Randeep Rathindran, vice president, research in the Gartner Finance Practice. “Having the right kind of relationship with the CIO is a critical part of delivering that value.”
Strong CFO-CIO relationships are 51% more likely to easily find funding for digital initiatives, 39% more likely to keep digital spending in line with the budget plan and 18% more likely to achieve the intended business outcomes.
“CFOs should be thinking of their CIO as a business strategist, rather than just a budget owner,” said Rathindran. “Better partnership here will help to ensure that executive leadership is aligned on the role of discretionary technology spend across the enterprise and what it can deliver.”
Organizations with strong CFO-CIO partnership outperform their peers in several financial management practices that are unique to digital and are enabled by collegial and business-centric relationships between finance and IT (see Figure 1).