What should be your organization’s top technology investments in 2014? According to a recent joint study by IT research firm Gartner and the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), the top three business process areas where you should spend your technology dollars are:

  • Analysis and decision making-
  • Ongoing monitoring of business performance
  • Collaboration and knowledge management

John van Decker, Gartner’s vice president of research, said in a statement. “Responses to the study are consistent with prior years, with the emphasis on business intelligence and analytics and business applications as the top areas for investment and focus. With over 20 areas of choices, all of the top 12 that were chosen by CFOs can be addressed and/or improved with investments in BI and analytics.”

So, what type of projects should you be looking at with regards to your business intelligence initiatives? Corporate performance management (CPM) projects scored highest on the list, according to the survey. They include:

  • Performance scorecard
  • Budgeting, planning and forecast
  • Financial consolidation
  • Profitability management.

And while social media platforms scored low on the priority list, mobile and cloud technologies (including software as a service [SaaS]) are still considered high priority.

One interesting finding of the survey? According to Bill Sinnett, senior director of research at FERF, “[They] would seem to suggest that the CFO prioritizes business applications higher than the CIO does…This demonstrates the trend that BI is becoming less of a CIO responsibility and more of a CFO and line-of-business responsibility.”

What if your organization has already made investments in these areas? What you would need to do in the coming months is evaluate whether they are tactically focused and whether they are addressing the fundamental issues of data quality and consistency. If they are not, CFOs and finance teams need to work closely with BI specialists in IT, as well as CIOs.

Van Decker’s statement also stated that “… a large percentage of CFOs own the IT function…This high level of reporting to the CFO demonstrates the need for companies to ensure that their CFOs are educated in technology, and underscores just how critical it is that CIOs and CFOs have a common understanding of how to leverage enterprise technology.”

So if you’re wondering how to make your case for any of these initiatives, figure out how to communicate how more-effective business platforms can be leveraged to deliver better architectures for business applications that are “top of mind” for the CFO. Any investments in IT should be clearly related to business strategies and realizable benefits.

If you’re looking for the people who can take these initiatives and run with them, call Smith Hanley. We have worked in the IT space for years, and we are confident in our ability to deliver the best candidates who can do the highest quality of work. Contract us today to learn more!

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