In which Jill wonders why Finance--itself an often plodding back office organization--has so much clout over IT funding. What if...
Over admittedly many years in the BI and data integration industry Iâ€™ve seen my share of pending projects stagnate in the â€śawaiting signatureâ€ť tray. And that signature is likely to be on the desk of the person whose formal sanction and budgetary authority signals the green light for many IT projects: the Chief Financial Officer.
Sometimes the CFO understands why data needs to be integrated across silos for efficiencies, or why business intelligence needs to be expanded beyond a couple platforms and into a program, or why consultants need to be engaged for an injection of expertise. Sometimes the CFO doesnâ€™t get it and has to be educated. Sometimes the CFO sabotages the whole endeavor. This got me wondering: If we can outsource major IT projects, or the entire IT organization, why canâ€™t we outsource Finance? After all, the same logic applies:
â€˘ Finance is a back-office operation often associated with cost overhead
â€˘ Finance involves repeatable business processes, like accounts payable
â€˘ Finance requires specialized-yet-often-rote skills that can be found on the open market
â€˘ Resource needs in Finance ebb and flow seasonally (like during tax and budgeting season)
â€˘ Decisions and reports in Finance follow well-defined methods: Is there a purchase order to support this bill? Is there a contract with this vendor?
â€˘ Contracts with outsourcers could involve Service Level Agreements that guarantee faster turnaround than current Finance productivity rates. (For instance, getting expenses paid within a month.)
Nowadays, companies are outsourcing their legal organizationsâ€”an area involving highly specialized skills if there ever was one. Apple Corporation actually even outsources some of its consumer product development. The venerated iPod was developed outside of HQ. (They also outsource their cafeteria, but thatâ€™s another issue.)
Is my tongue in my cheek? Yeah, a little. But then again, maybe itâ€™s time Finance turns the mirror toward itself.
Posted June 25, 2007 10:50 PM
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