IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems Edition - September 2012 - (Page 20)

A Pivotal Position BY SHIRLEY S. SAVAGE & ILLUSTRATION BY MICHAEL AUSTIN/ISPOT CFOs link up with CIOs to move businesses forward T oday’s CFO is a vital member of the C-suite, taking a more active decision-making role in moving the organization forward. CFOs remain in charge of the numbers, but they also are being thrust into an arena where finance has become the unifying principle underlying all business sectors, including IT. IT often reports directly to the CFO, underscoring the CFO’s broad duties. IT is such a significant investment for any organization that the CFO needs to evaluate and improve those investments in IT whether or not the CIO reports to the CFO. “Finance holds the keys to performance. To do that well, there needs to be a closer relationship between operations and IT to drive the organization’s activities,” says Carl Nordman, Global Project Executive, IBM Global Process Services. Nordman, formerly with IBM’s Institute for Business Value, was the lead researcher and author of the IBM 2010 Global CFO Study that discovered to what degree highperforming CFOs are contributing to an organization’s success (see “The Value Integrator” on page 24). 20 SEPTEMBER 2012 Creating Common Standards With analytics being used to assess company performance, the close relationship between IT and operations is coming to the fore. IT powers analytics used by the organization, but the business itself is responsible for defining the organization’s analytical needs. Analytics are used to understand how to optimize company performance and determine whether an investment or business decision will add to shareholder value. To achieve that common goal, all parts of the business must be working from a common standard. No longer can each business segment have different definitions and different spreadsheets when it comes to financial matters. CFOs are instrumental in implementing standards for process, data and data definitions. “Standardizing the chart of accounts and how it’s used across the company is the most important first step a company can take,” Nordman says. Organizations “need to have faith and confidence that the numbers being produced in the financial statement reflect truth about what’s really going on. Companies that don’t operate under a common standard make business decisions based on different versions of the financial truth.” Without standards, company leadership is hard-pressed to optimize enterprise financial and operational performance because the CEO and CFO get one picture about the health of the company, while the business units see another. After standardizing the chart of accounts and the financial systems, financial performance information must be integrated with operational data. Integrating operational data with financial data provides the analytical context to help explain enterprise financial performance. Standardizing the way financial and operational data is captured, defined and integrated is essential to achieve performance “truth.” When the numbers reflect what’s truly happening in the business, the company and its units are operating under a unifying financial principle, which facilitates optimizing enterprise performance. Why does it take companies so long to get this? “Theoretically, it makes perfect sense,” Nordman says. “But in reality, the larger and

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems Edition - September 2012

IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems - September 2012
Editor's Desk: It's the Economy, Genius
IBM Perspective: Myths and Truths About Cost
Dashboard: Big Bang to Big Data; A Wooden Light Bulb?; CEOs Going Social; Bubble 'Bots
Insider: Virtualization Blends the Best of Disk and Tape
Case Study: Mobile Defender: Jacksonville Public Defender's Office better serves clients with document imaging and mobile access
Cover Story: A Pivotal Position: CFOs link up with CIOs to move business forward
Feature: A New Lease on Your Business Life: Analyst Cal Braunstein offers economic perspective and advice
Focus on Storage: Store More Data With New Real-time Compression Technology
Next: Biometric Identifiers Will Soon Allow CIOs to Worry Less About Authentication Issues
FYI: Hot, Warm and Cold Data Find a Home With Storage Groups
Solutions: SafeNet/i; STORServer Backup Appliance; Robot/SCHEDULE Enterprise; SignHere 1.3.3; Double-Take for AIX 4.0; Presto 4; ARCAD 8.15; Compleo Designer; JD Edwards World A9.3; Change Tracker
Advertisers Index
Snapshot: Enselman Books Through Application Modernization
Reference Point - Global Events, Education, Resources for Power Systems
Women in Technology
Publisher's Letter: Leaders in Technology
CIO Jeanette Horan steers Big Blue into newly charted waters
FIDM's Roxanne Reynolds-Lair explains what makes her tick
IT is right where IBM's Zarina Stanford wants to be
Technology runs in the blood of zNextGener Kristine Harper
Susan Gantner works magic as a programmer and educator
Kirsten Craft enjoys taking on the challenges that come with an IT position
On the Move: These women have also pursued notable IT careers
2012 Power Systems Buyer's Guide Index

IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems Edition - September 2012