Wearing Two Hats: When CFOs Are CIOs

by Monica Mehta

Summer 2017

It’s not common for an organization to have someone in charge of finances who also acts as CIO. But Kasaine’s observations about how to make that dual role work. The following are Kasaine’s observations about how to make that dual role work.


City of Oakland

Headquarters: Oakland, California

Industry: Public sector

Employees: More than 5000

Oracle products: Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Planning and Budgeting Cloud Service, Oracle Business Intelligence Cloud Service, Oracle WebCenter, Oracle Enterprise Manager, Oracle Management Cloud

Katano Kasaine

CIO and Chief Business Transformation Officer

Length of tenure as interim CIO: Two years

Education: BA in administration, Dominican University; Master of Public Health Administration, Loma Linda University

Personal quote/mantra: Be true to yourself. To be successful, one has to believe in the ability to get things done and to not listen to naysayers.

City of Oakland

Launch the Slideshow

Realize that problems are problems, regardless of your role. When Kasaine managed the City’s funds, she had to analyze situations to arrive at difficult decisions. It didn’t take long to realize that the same is true of IT. “I use all my resources to understand a problem and solve it,” she says. “When you’re sitting in a position where you have a lot on your shoulders, you cannot be afraid to make tough decisions.”

Exploit a fresh perspective. Coming from a position outside of IT has helped Kasaine think outside the box, because she’s free of “the baggage” of knowing how things have always been done. “In finance, I was an IT customer, so coming from that role, it was helpful for me to know that side.”

Bring the right people to the table. Kasaine says one of the keys to success in both roles has been bringing the right teams together and communicating effectively. “You need buy-in from everyone in the design phase, so it’s important to make sure the right people are at the table from the beginning, and you need to be available for every call, question, and complaint,” she says. “I also can speak the languages of both finance and IT now, which is invaluable.”

Choose reliable partners. Having the right external partners in a complicated government IT project is equally vital to its success. “Having Oracle as a trusted partner that is stepping up for the City of Oakland is huge,” Kasaine notes. “If I didn’t have the support of Oracle, I would not have been able to get this project done.”

Know the stakes. Kasaine has remained keenly aware of the complexity and important nature of Oakland’s ERP system throughout the project’s duration. “The project was very critical in terms of how the City operates, primarily because this is a very complex ERP setup,” says Raj Sarma, a member of Oracle’s customer support team who has worked closely with Kasaine. “Without Oracle E-Business Suite, the City couldn’t pay its staff. So if the system is offline or if the payroll doesn’t get processed, it affects every single department that exists including fire, law enforcement, and City staff.”

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