Not content to juggle spreadsheets, CFOs apparently want to manage the IT department, as well. In a new survey of over 200 UK CFOs and finance directors, 43 percent believe the CIOs role is destined to become part of their companies’ financial functions. And while it’s not surprising that an executive might believe she can do a better job than her peers, even outside her core skillset, it’s telling that business executives increasingly see technology as part of their job.
Blame the cloud.
After all, it’s the cloud that makes IT more a matter of “Information” and less a matter of “Technology.” A system like Zendesk is heavy on technology, of course, but its users don’t need to worry about that. The technology is ‘hidden’ under the covers. The same is true of Salesforce.com and a range of other systems. Even Nodeable, a real-time information network used to monitor geeky infrastructure like AWS instances, GitHub, and JIRA, can be and increasingly is used by business-level users.
The cloud has minimized the need to futz with installing and configuring complex infrastructure, even as IT consumerization has made hitherto obscure technology easy to use.
None of which is to suggest that CFOs are well-equipped to take on the role of CIO. Some probably are. Many likely aren’t. As Ewan Leith noted to me on Twitter:
— Ewan Leith (@EwanToo) February 28, 2012
But the point is that the cloud makes the CFO’s interest in running IT a plausible possibility. And centralizing some of the IT functions within finance actually makes sense, given that the cloud makes some formerly technical solutions a matter of dollars and cents rather than ones and zeroes.
In sum, the IT landscape is changing significantly, even dramatically. Server huggers of the enterprise world had best beware. The CFO may not have a valid claim to your job, but the rise of DevOps suggests that there’s a class of technical user that may not care to report up to a CIO, preferring to take this burden of managing all aspects of her application.
The cloud makes it possible.