CFOs – Are You Changing With Technology?

In Sunday’s NY Times there was an article that discussed the likely evolution of technology over the coming year(s) and its impact on companies.  In this article the following quote appeared.

“The guy buying software and hardware for your average company probably looks a whole lot more like a guy raised on an iPod and an iPhone than a guy in his 60s raised on Unix terminals and big old I.B.M. mainframes,” he said. “That’s going to ripple through technology sold to companies in a really dramatic way.”

If you are a CFO functionally responsible for the acquisition of new IT technology for your company are you changing with the times?  What have you done to improve your knowledge of the space?

In my past roles as CFO of medium-sized public companies the IT group always reported up to me.  As CEO my company had grown to a significant enough size to warrant the hiring of a CIO, but the position still reported to me.  As such, I have always felt that I needed to have a very complete understanding of current technology and its potential impact on my company.  Do you?

Last October I blogged about creating my own digital footprint and my entry into the world of social media.  Part of the reason I did this was to become aware of the trends currently affecting the ways companies reach their customers.  I use an Apple platform at home, an iPhone as my smart phone and maintain a Windows-based PC in my current company.

If you are like me and remember using punch cards to post general ledger entries then you’ll understand how far corporate IT has come in a relatively short period of time.  If you stopped learning somewhere along the way and are resistant to the current changes in technology you are doing both yourself and perhaps your company a disservice.  When the head of IT comes to you and presents you with a technology that can help your business it would be helpful if you were current with what is happening in the real world.

My 80-year old father-in-law sold integrated circuits for 30 years yet he is having trouble wrapping his head around a static 250GB backup drive for his PC because it looks like the size of a wallet and nothing is spinning.  As the pace of change quickens you need to work harder to stay on the curve.

As a final point, for CFOs and other executives who scoff at involvement in the social media movement that includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., keep in mind that while you may find the applications themselves superfluous in many ways you need to understand that the technology behind these platforms is driving the innovation over the next decade that will impact your business.



About Mike

Mike has been an executive in the biotechnology industry for the past 20 years. Mike is a graduate of University of California, Santa Barbara, earning Bachelors degrees in Business Economics and Geography. Mike also earned his MBA in Finance from California State University, Fresno. Mike is married to the mother of his 3 children and currently lives outside of Boulder, CO. In his spare time Mike enjoys hiking, fishing, skiing, reading and coaching basketball.
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