Global Survey: How CFOs and CIOs partner for innovation, revenue, and results

Mark Coggin
VP, Portfolio Marketing
3 min read
Global Survey: How CFOs and CIOs partner for innovation, revenue, and results

In today’s dynamic business landscape, the relationship between CFOs and CIOs is critically important. Synergy between the roles is shaping the future of enterprise technology investments while driving innovation with a focus on revenue and results. While each role maintains distinct responsibilities, their paths frequently converge, and that nexus highlights their combined contribution to business success.

To gather data and deeper analysis of how the collaboration between the IT and Finance leaders impact decisions made related to emerging technology investments, budget trends and IT services, Rimini Street partnered with Censuswide Research to conduct a global survey of nearly 3,000 CFOs and CIOs. The report, C-Suite Imperatives: Evolving IT and Enterprise Investments, [link to Censuswide LP] reveals key insights that delves into what influences their decisions, and why.

Following are three key findings and takeaways from the research.

Key finding #1: The strengthening CFO/CIO partnership

One of the most significant findings from our survey is the strengthening relationship between CFOs and CIOs. A remarkable 86% of respondents noted that their relationship has improved significantly or slightly. This collaboration is not just beneficial but essential for aligning financial strategies with technological advancements.

Diving into the why the bond grew stronger, respondents cite “A focus on security, compliance and risk,” “Urgent need to collaborate to make nimble technology decisions,” “Other leaders’ engagement” and “Need to quickly cut IT costs in a smart way,” as the top 4 reasons.

Takeaway: A strong partnership allows CFOs and CIOs to make informed decisions on critical areas such as emerging technologies, security, agility, ROI, and hybrid environments. By working closely together, these leaders can ensure that technology investments are not only aligned with business objectives but also drive tangible business outcomes such as revenue growth.

Key finding #2: CFOs and CIOs view IT investments with differing lenses

CFOs are increasingly getting more involved in technology investments, focused on the tangible business outcomes, revenue and results of technology investments. Our survey found that only 20% of CFOs are satisfied with the impact of tech investments on their business, highlighting a significant area for improvement. To address this, CFOs are prioritizing investments that deliver actual value, while de-prioritizing low-value projects, such as ERP upgrades or migrations which 23% of CFOs cite as delivering the least amount of value. They are also getting more involved in the details of technology investments (timing, spending, and selection).

CIOs are focusing their attention to solve for growing business and technology pressures by leveraging emerging technology, with about 50% respondents already investing strongly in this area. Even so, 31% of CIOs are taking a cautious approach, and are finding fit-for-purpose solutions are the best option compared with upgrading to their vendor’s newest platform (27%) or completely replacing current systems (23%).

Takeaway: CIOs should emphasize ROI of each technology project up for consideration, ensuring that every tech dollar spent contributes to the organization’s strategic goals. This focus on results-driven investments is crucial for securing executive buy-in and demonstrating the value of technology initiatives. For CFOs, collaborating with CIOs to understand what challenges and business acceleration opportunities technology investments may bring to the organization, will help drive better collaboration for successful investments.

Key finding #3: CFOs and CIOs are Yearning for “Language” Comprehension

Communication According to the survey, a combined 85% of CFOs indicated that their CIO counterpart needs to be more business savvy to better communicate with them. For CIOs, a combined 86% indicated that their CFO needs to be more technology savvy.

CFOs rely heavily on CIOs due to the complexity of IT decisions. They require CIOs’ expertise in managing technology-driven priorities such as security and emerging technologies. Concurrently, CIOs look to CFOs for support with budgeting and executive advocacy.

Takeaway: CIOs and CFOs should both take the initiative to familiarize themselves with each other’s business goals, terminologies, industry movements, and communicate using terms and metrics that will be of importance to the other. Doing so will ensure wins on both sides.

As noted by the survey data, nearly half of CFOs (49%) believe their improved relationship was the reason for improved business outcomes, and a significant 42% think that the partnership contributes even if it’s not the main driver of using tech to improve business results. When CIOs approached CFOs with a reasonable IT proposal that would require more investment and provide additional ROI, 26% of CFOs were willing to approach the board to secure the funding.

Learn more: How is the CFO/CIO relationship driving your enterprise toward a future of agility, flexibility, and growth? Learn more insights from our global survey and discover how to leverage these strategies for your organization. Get the report: C-Suite Imperatives: Evolving IT and Enterprise Investments.