HP guns for the CFO

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HP guns for the CFO

They who hold the purse strings...

HP plans to conduct a global roadshow in 2012 aimed at winning over the hearts, minds and wallets of the world’s chief financial officers.

The roundtables, which kick off in Singapore in March, are a response to a Gartner study that showed 40 percent of the world’s chief information officers – the vendor’s typical target customer – now report to the CFO.

“The role of the CFO is evolving,” said Irv Rothman, president and chief executive officer at HP Financial Services. “Typically they were involved in financial controls, but that role is evolving to include strategic planning and monitoring investment to assure alignment with strategic goals.”

Cloud computing – which represents a potential to greatly simplify IT and shift more IT spending out of CapEx and into OpEx – has given many a financial manager confidence in their own ability to manage IT spend.

Michael Harte, the only CIO left among Australia’s four largest banks that still reports directly to the CEO, noted earlier this month that CIOs are now in a competitive position with CFOs and chief marketing officers for control of IT spend.

But Rothman insists HP will not marginalise its CIO customers during the roadshow.

“The clear intent is to get CFOs in a better position to work in alignment with CIO, the essence of this is to work more effectively together,” he said.

Rothman said HP can teach CFOs to “avoid shadow IT" - setting policies that block business units from spending money on technology outside of the IT department – which is likely to be well received by CIOs.

Separately, HP wants to help CFOs “manage risk around security” – understanding the need to spend money in the short term to mitigate against longer term consequences.“

“These are things CFOs would have concerns over, but have more confidence in the things they hear from the CIO,” he said.

What do you think? Is the CFO a threat to traditional IT turf?

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