The Virtual CIO

These findings dovetail with the evolution of managed IT from something used primarily to provide tactical capabilities to a more mature, higher-value service. For many finance executives, the benefits of the newest offerings in this field handily outweigh traditional concerns about cost and quality. These offerings can assist companies in creating a strategic vision for the IT function, deliver “virtual CIO” capabilities, and help companies navigate their transformation into digital enterprises.

The ultra-speedy pace of technological change, perhaps combined with the ubiquity of business process outsourcing after decades of refinement, appears to have given finance executives a stronger appreciation for outsourcing IT functions than they once had. Most now believe they can gain continuous access to top-shelf technology—and still improve the predictability of their costs—by embracing a managed IT approach. Indeed, nearly seven in 10 finance executives polled in the latest CFO Research survey—69 percent—agree that a trusted IT services provider can do a better job than the typical company can do on its own. And 60 percent say they would be comfortable having a trusted managed IT services provider deliver not some, but all, of their company’s IT functionality.
CFO Comfort Zone
Among the survey respondents who say they would still be more comfortable trusting only a subset of their IT functions to a managed IT provider, more than half say they’d be most willing to hand over responsibility for data backup and recovery operations (62 percent of respondents), and network management with 24/7 monitoring (57 percent).

Back-up services, including cloud-based offerings, give companies access to IT capabilities and skills they might not otherwise be able to hire or afford, such as 24/7 monitoring. They also shift infrastructure-related burdens, such as hardware and system upgrades, from their internal IT operations to a third party. Presumably, this allows the business to invest additional resources in more strategic initiatives.

There are, to be sure, lingering concerns among some finance executives about outsourcing IT functions. Their top three are costs (52 percent), the provider’s ability to understand the company’s businesses and key systems (50 percent), and service quality (47 percent). Given the broad appetite for managed IT services evidenced by the other survey findings, it may be that outsourcing still sounds too good to be true to some finance executives, who seem wary of their own ability to assess a service provider and negotiate an appropriate service-level agreement.

This, too, is understandable. Finance executives are seldom trained in IT, even though IT often reports to finance. All the more reason, then, that finance leaders today can benefit from a trusted IT services provider—a modern, managed IT provider who can deliver not just tactical but strategic support as technology becomes ever more critical to keeping companies a step ahead of competitors.

 

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