Finance executives, not CIOs, have final word on IT: Gartner survey

Is 'business-IT alignment' shifting more IT responsibilities away from IT managers to the business side?

People have been yearning for more "business-IT alignment" for years. Maybe we already have it -- it appears that chief financial officers, not chief information officers, are running the IT show.

Is 'business-IT alignment' shifting more IT to the business side?

At least, that's what a new survey by Gartner, the Financial Executives Research Foundation (FERF), and the Committee of Finance & IT (CFIT) of Financial Executives International (FEI) is telling us.

The survey of 344 financial executives finds CFOs alone have authorized 26% of all IT investments, while CIOs alone have authorized only 5% of IT investments. The survey also showed that 42% of IT organizations report directly to the CFO, while 33% report to the CEO.

So financial executives are calling the shots. The question is, are financial executives taking the helm of IT spending as a reflexive reaction to the recent economic downturn, or has IT become such a strategic part of the business that it is the business in many cases?

The survey also showed that senior financial executives expect IT spending to recover conservatively in 2011, with 38% of respondents saying that they do not expect this growth to reach the level experienced before the recession in 2008. Forty percent see the level of growth consistent with 2010.

What technologies do CFOs want to put money in? For a combined 65% of choices, BI ranked as the technology with the highest demand, while 46% liked enterprise business applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) and integrated financial management solutions.