Getting the CIO-CFO relationship right


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American journalist Sydney J. Harris once differentiated the words information and communication by stating: “Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”

CIOs and CFOs should heed this difference in fostering their relationship, which has become more tightly coupled as IT’s stature has grown. “Getting through” should be a key goal for both highly synergistic and codependent roles, as CIOs seek funding to accelerate digital initiatives and CFOs seek sound justification for investments.

CIO-CFO cohesiveness has been especially important during the pandemic.

“A strong strategic partnership between the CIO and CFO has been critical during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially as many companies have had to scale back on expenses and rethink their digital capabilities,” says Greg Douglass, global lead of technology strategy and advisory at Accenture. “As data has become increasingly important to manage and analyze for businesses to succeed, CFOs depend on CIOs to help translate the data and insights into actionable initiatives, driving optimal results for the business.”

The pandemic mainly impacted the relationship for the better with both sides recognizing the need to work together to achieve accelerated business goals. Isaac Sacolick, president of digital consultancy StarCIO, says executives he has advised have told him that CIOs got investments for tools they never otherwise would have gotten.

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