More than 80% of CFOs plan to increase their investments in digitalization
82% of CFOs plan to increase their investments in their businesses’ digital capabilities this year, according to new data from Gartner.
70% of the same group of respondents – 115 CFOs from around the world surveyed between July and December 2020 – intend to increase spending on information technology in fiscal year 2021.
“While the COVID-19 lockdowns have been imposed, most financial organizations have tried to digitize as many processes as possible to move to a virtual work environment,” says Alejandra Lozada, senior manager of Gartner Finance.
“CFOs also see technology as a competitive differentiator that can widen the performance gap between their businesses and those of their peers. “
Lozada says that while CFOs plan to increase investments in digitization, there are issues around clarity of purpose – and what exactly they want to do with their investments.
“While CFOs plan to increase their digital investments, our survey also showed that they are less clear about what digital commerce means and which technologies have the most significant impact on their businesses. It could be a challenge, ”explains Lozada.
“CFOs need a clear language and vision for digitization to focus their teams on the key investments and initiatives needed to accelerate transformation.
“This clarity is needed to make consistent, mutually reinforcing technology investments. “
To ensure clear and concise planning for future digital investments, Gartner has articulated three points:
- Maintain a balanced portfolio of technological investments: This portfolio must balance technology opportunities that can generate long-term business value with low effort, low complexity initiatives, like piecemeal automations, with shorter payback periods.
- Select technologies according to the needs of finance: Instead of choosing technologies based on market trends, Gartner suggests that CFOs define their business and financial goals, then look for technologies that will help them achieve those goals.
- Involve cross-functional stakeholders upstream: Limited visibility into the IT efforts of the organization at large will lead to overlaps and conflicts with other business units. According to the data analytics company, CFOs can avoid this by consulting with other business units and central IT at every stage of the technology roadmap.
Gartner report follows similar results from WNS, which released a report last week finding that 49% of CFOs believe digital adoption is an immediate priority to increase productivity, customer experience and control.
The report also found that 50% of those surveyed are considering proactive steps to create agile, resilient, and digitally-ready finance for the future.
“I see the current scenario as a great opportunity for CFOs to drive relevant cultural and technological changes as an integral part of preparing for the future,” said Keshav R. Murugesh, CEO of WNS Group.
“Regardless of the magnitude of the challenge, now is the time for fragmented operations and legacy systems to make way for unified operations based on digital business models and hyper-automation.
“There is no doubt that CFOs have more than ever the tools they need to lead businesses in this climate and beyond.