Cloud causing CFO-CIO stormy relationships?

Toll's head of finance says so far so good, but CFOs will call more cloud and SaaS procurement shots.

Cloud could change the equation of power between CIOs and CFOs and the ability of both roles to make decisions about technology. At least, that's the case for Jey Jeyakumar, head of finance and commercial at logistics company Toll Global Express.

"The CFO will come in much more in the [cloud software procurement] decision-making process, while the CIO will come in on whether it will work for the organisation," Jeyakumar said.

"I would say that there is a tension there regarding the decision you are trying to make. As a CFO, you want the best value for money, while the CIO wants the least risk and greatest rewards and gets much more technical about it.

Jeyakumar said that at present, these tensions are not a management issue, largely because the company is only just beginning to move into cloud-based software.

"At this point in time, it is early days for us — we are putting our toe in the water," he said. "We are a large company with many locations, so everything isn't in that SaaS space."

Jeyakumar's comments follow the implementation by Toll's Asia business of 120 seats of NetSuite OneWorld for its core business processes, including financial consolidation across multiple Asian markets and currencies.

The implementation replaces multiple applications and manual processes, including MYOB accounting software and custom Excel spreadsheets.

Toll is also using the OneWorld implementation to manage its fixed assets, and to access customer relationship management functionalities such as lead and opportunity management, upsell, renewals, and service.

"Initially, a cloud-based solution was not the highest priority for us, but we quickly saw that ... cloud technology would mean we could manage upgrades, expand our operations, and remain at the forefront of technology without investing further significant time or capital," Jeyakumar said.

"Prior to NetSuite, if we needed a consolidated general ledger from our regional HQ in Singapore, for example, someone would have to manually consolidate data into a spreadsheet and then email the data to us. Now this process is completely automated, with information readily available wherever and whenever we need it, and in whichever customisable format required."

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