Big Ideas

CFOs Choose Their Top Technology Investments

By Minda Zetlin

CFOs are more involved than ever in their companies’ technology decisions. Which new technologies do they see as most valuable?

According to the results of the 2012 Gartner FEI CFO Technology Study, 63 percent of CFOs plan business intelligence and/or performance management projects this year.

“Business intelligence, analytics, and performance management have become the top areas for CFOs,” reports Marie Hollein, president and CEO at Financial Executives International.


Percentage of CFOs planning business intelligence and/or performance management projects in 2012 (Source: 2012 Gartner FEI CFO Technology Study)


“I think the key word these days is data,” says Scott Rottmann, managing director at Morgan Franklin. “That’s what everyone is trying to figure out—how to get access to the information that allows you to make a good business decision. Finance has a great appreciation for all the information an organization may have at its disposal. Strategically, they’re better positioned to know how to act on information that comes out of technology.”

“We’re a market leader in data analytics, looking at tremendous amounts of transaction analytics,” says Collin Harrison, vice president of finance at Alliance Data. “But even from an internal corporate perspective, we’ve really seen a lot of benefits from implementing business intelligence systems, specifically [Oracle] Hyperion,” Harrison continues. “We use it to get some key performance indicators for forecasting, which in the past we could only get our hands on with difficulty and at a cost. We’re continuing to invest in corporate analytics.”

In addition to business intelligence, Harrison says, companies can get a lot of bang for the buck by consolidating server platforms into one network of servers. “You get a lot of efficiency and horsepower for hosting very large databases and platforms,” he says.

Another key area for investment is enterprise resource planning and core financial software, he adds. “It’s imperative for us to support our IT group by keeping those core systems current and fresh. In our case it’s [Oracle’s] PeopleSoft, but it applies to every company out there—no matter what they’re running.”

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