Executive Briefings

IT: Business Asset or Strategic Liability? Your Choice.

The lesson for CFOs is that if an IT capability is not part of a growth agenda, part of improving the customer experience, or part of developing innovative new products or services, it's worse than a cost center; it's a strategic liability. And it's not a liability that you can just close down or outsource to someone and consider the job done. The decision to make IT a more efficient cost center is a decision to cede innovation to companies that can build an IT capability into a strategic asset.

An IT capability has to be matched to, and be part of, the business strategy. In some cases, that might mean rebuilding the IT capability. It may mean investing more in technology and IT personnel.  Whatever it means for a company, the CFO, responsible for those investments, needs to be at the table, if not leading, when those discussions take place. Because there is a long list of companies that were overenthusiastic about IT, bet their business on a major project, and lost.

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The lesson for CFOs is that if an IT capability is not part of a growth agenda, part of improving the customer experience, or part of developing innovative new products or services, it's worse than a cost center; it's a strategic liability. And it's not a liability that you can just close down or outsource to someone and consider the job done. The decision to make IT a more efficient cost center is a decision to cede innovation to companies that can build an IT capability into a strategic asset.

An IT capability has to be matched to, and be part of, the business strategy. In some cases, that might mean rebuilding the IT capability. It may mean investing more in technology and IT personnel.  Whatever it means for a company, the CFO, responsible for those investments, needs to be at the table, if not leading, when those discussions take place. Because there is a long list of companies that were overenthusiastic about IT, bet their business on a major project, and lost.

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