How Your CFO Will Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Cloud

If the campaign for cloud infrastructure keeps failing, it’s time to try a new strategy. Too many IT heroes fall because they don’t know how to talk to a CFO. IT and finance employ languages as different as C++ and Ruby. Virtualization and cloud IaaS may be exactly what your organization needs, but you must be able to explain why in finance language.

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu says that “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

If you’ve been going to war first, don’t blame the CFO or other skeet-shooters who took out your idea in mid-flight. Instead, if you want your organization to become more productive and cost-efficient, you need to win to before going to war. Here’s how:

“To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy”

Empathy is an unspoken motor of change and transformation within organizations. If you want your CFO to understand and love the cloud, you must think from the CFO’s perspective.

The Chief Financial Officer is traditionally responsible for financial risk, planning and record-keeping. For a CFO, cash flow is king.

However, the CFO role is changing. According to Ernst & Young’s “The DNA of the CFO” report, the CFO is evolving from “scorekeeper” to “strategic partner.” “The CFO as a Catalyst For Change,” a 2013 report co-sponsored by Oracle and Accenture, found that 71 percent of CFOs say their level of strategic influence has increased over the past three years, with 65 percent of respondents citing an increase in responsibility over setting and determining strategy, and 47 percent claiming a larger role in business transformation. These numbers are likely to increase.

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