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Savvy CFOs Invest in Strategic Digital Transformation

Your Digital Transformation depends on strategic investment in business technology that drives profitability and growth. Given the current global economic outlook, will your Chief Financial Officer (CFO) deny your next request for IT project funding? Think again.

Seventy-eight percent of CFOs plan to maintain or increase their enterprise-wide digital investments in the next two years, according to the latest worldwide market study by Gartner.

The findings come even as CFOs indicate they are planning cost reductions in other areas of the business if inflation persists this year.

Digital Transformation Market Development

"Companies that drive the right digital investments have 2.7x higher customer retention, 1.6x higher customer satisfaction rates, and 1.9x higher average order value," said Alexander Bant, chief of finance research at Gartner.

Leading digital-enabled companies are also 3x more likely to achieve above-industry revenue and margin growth. Gartner has also found that 67 percent of consumers will pay more for a great digital experience.

Gartner asked CFOs about their intentions for technology spending through 2023, both within their function and across the enterprise. At the enterprise level, 46 percent of respondents said they are scaling up their digital spending plans, while 32 percent said that no changes were planned.

The survey data indicates that CFOs plan to accelerate the momentum in Digital Transformation investments that were launched in earnest at the start of the pandemic, in line with Gartner’s IT Spending Forecast of an overall increase in worldwide IT spending in 2022.

According to Bant, inflation is a new catalyst driving CFOs to increase digital business project investments with the aim of lowering the cost of doing business, plus identifying new sources of profitability and growth.

"CFOs know to never waste a crisis or downturn. It’s a time to reinvent, make better investments, and reduce inefficiencies," said Bant.

According to the Gartner assessment, winners on the other side of this cycle will have continued to accelerate the right digital initiatives across their organization -- even as there are mounting pressures on profitability.

Within their own departments, CFOs plan to spend even more aggressively on business technology, with 52 percent of CFOs scaling up digital investments, while 38 percent said they intend to protect their current investment levels.

Furthermore, CFO's increasing focus on automation as an inflation mitigation strategy aligns with findings from Gartner's other related survey, which polled finance leaders on their investment plans for specific Finance Technologies over the next two years.

The data indicated a planned increase in investment in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), reporting automation and process mining, technologies critical to streamlining routine processes, and freeing up staff to focus on higher-value activities and increased productivity.

Outlook for Employee Digital Transformation Apps

Enterprise CFOs are striving to meet the rapidly evolving needs of all key stakeholders, while also navigating rising inflation, supply chain constraints, a digital talent shortage, and ESG demands.

The rising needs of these stakeholders and macro business pressures act as a catalyst for CFOs to elevate and deliver more real-time, predictive, error-less, always-on support to drive profitable and sustainable digital business growth.

That said, I believe CFOs will also focus more on the 'employee experience' benefits of their IT investments. A case in point is the modernization of Digital Workspaces that enable a distributed workforce to excel. Modern employee experiences are proven to also enhance customer value.

CFOs must fund IT's flexible working platform roadmap that transforms employee workflows toward a superior future state. Qualified IT vendors will help CFOs advance their organization's digital business growth journey by sharing what the most successful industry peer groups are already accomplishing.

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