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CFOs playing bigger role in IT decisions, survey says

In an increasing number of organizations, it's not the CIO who's deciding which IT projects should get funding -- it's the chief financial officer.

A recent survey of 344 senior financial executives by Gartner and two financial management associations found that CFOs "authorized" 26% of IT investments. The survey also showed that 42% of IT organizations report to the CFO, and 33% to the CEO.

In a warning shot to CIOs, only 30% of the CFO respondents said they believe that IT provides clear business benefits, and only 32% said that they view the CIO as a "strategic partner."

The study's message is that "IT needs to get much closer to business," said Gartner analyst John Van Decker. Otherwise, "what you are going to see is more of the control being taken away" from CIOs, he said.

Van Decker acknowledged that the survey reflects the bias of CFOs and their view of what's occurring in their organizations.

The CIO job won't disappear, Van Decker said, but it could erode. If CIOs don't become more business-oriented, he warned, business units "will go off and do their own thing and involve IT at a minimum."


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