This story is about a smart and savvy CFO who, despite having “Financial” in the middle of her title, had a lot more to do than just financial stuff. She had to figure out how the company was going to become bigger and better. In fact, her success at her job was so dependent upon leading the company into big-ness and better-ness that she thought she might be dumped if she couldn’t do it. So she poured herself into figuring out the business strategy and what pieces were already there, and which pieces she had yet to find until she got to a point when the words “IT blueprint” kept flashing in her mind.
This happened as she looked about at people doing the work of the company, and saw that they were using technology but they weren’t using it very well, or maybe they didn’t have good technology to use in the first place. Either way, people were struggling, so when she started asking them questions she certainly got an ear full.
She learned that people were trying to solve their own I.T. problems, and creating work-arounds for problems that would never go away. She found out that the information that people were entering in one department was also being entered in another. She saw people waiting around for spinning applications and network connections that wouldn’t stay connected. Everything took so much time and people didn’t seem to be helped by technology at all. They seemed stalled by it.
The smart and savvy CFO wondered how it could be that she did not know that this was all going on when it had, in fact, had been going on for a very long time. Then she looked at the numbers and how the company was doing with money (remember the F in CFO stands for Financial) and she started to make some connections. The words “lost productivity,” “wrong investments,” and “unpredictable costs,” flashed through her mind, along with some other words that we can’t put here.
“We must rebuild I.T.,” she thought. “But how?”
And that is when she thought of the I.T. blueprint. Then, of course, she went to the internet to find one.
Being smart and savvy, and also very resourceful, she thought that if she could just find a business technology blueprint, she could get her people to build it and it would turn their situation around. So with the information she found on the internet she started to put together a new plan for I.T. along with the tools and materials that they would need to create it.
In the middle of doing this she came to the realization that the complexity of the plan that she was starting to envision was overwhelming, and that they could no more rebuild an I.T. structure than they could build the physical walls and ceiling surrounding their servers. This all took a very long time, by the way, and in the meantime she neglected to do the financial stuff that she also had to do and that just made her problems worse.
“I need help,” she said aloud. “I also need a vacation.”
Remembering that a failure to get to big-ness and better-ness would lead to a long but unpaid vacation, she decided to focus on finding help and back to the internet she went. There were so many choices and just about every I.T. company that she found said that they were the “I.T. Experts” and it made her wonder if they all used the same marketing company.
Then she came across a client testimonial on an I.T. company website that said that this company put “skin in the game.” That made her stop in her tracks. Being a financial person (remember what the F in CFO stands for?) she knows about Warren Buffet and how the term “skin in the game” was coined, and that spoke to both the strategic and financial sides of her at the very same time, and she knew that what she had uncovered might be just what they needed.
So the CFO called the people at this I.T. company to schedule a meeting, and they had a nice long talk. They started out discussing the concerns that were right in front of them but surprisingly this didn’t include a load of technical questions. They asked things like “What does good look like to you?” and “Where do you want to go with the company?”
As the conversation progressed, she could see that this I.T. provider could bring the business a new approach to how everyone used technology, and the I.T. blueprint that she first envisioned morphed from a plan to rebuild their I.T. structure, into a power that could fuel the big-ness and better-ness that she strove for, and the I.T. experience that all the people longed for. She knew that this company could do what they said they could do, too, because this was what they did every day for lots of other companies, and they had a hassle-free guarantee to boot. If there was anyone who wanted to avoid hassles, it was the smart and savvy CFO.
Moving on to this new way to manage I.T. with a new I.T. provider meant that she had to say goodbye to her old I.T. company and that was not at all fun because they had been together for a while and they were friends. They asked her to give them a chance to figure it out, but that sounded like more hassle, not less. So they parted and the smart and savvy CFO reflected on how some hard decisions were just --- hard. In her line of work, there would always be difficult situations to handle, and sometimes people would not understand, but that’s just part of the job, and she wasn’t the CFO for nothing.
The day came when it was time to get started with the new IT company – by now she was calling them her “business IT partner” because she thought that something like IT support or IT provider just didn’t cut it. They all met in the conference room and the technical people were there asking all kinds of technical questions and immediately started doing technical things. Although she didn’t understand half of what they were doing or talking about, this made her feel smart because she knew that she had found the people who knew what needed to be done and how to do it.
And that I.T. blueprint that she wanted? Well, the smart and savvy CFO found that her journey to find one took her right back to where she wanted to be -- working with the business strategy. She knew that some of the things were going to take a while to build, but she felt strong and more determined than ever before, because she knew where the company was going and how they were going to get there, and when they were going to get there. It was like being able to see the future - not in a fortune teller kind of way, but in a roadmap kind of way.
If you’re expecting an ending here, you’re not going to get one. It’s true that the CFO was so wildly successful in making the company bigger and better that she got a huge raise (which she spent partially on relaxing vacations) but she just kept doing her job to get more big-ness and better-ness which made lots of people other than herself happy. That didn’t mean that she was going to sit on her laurels, though. Oh no! Remember, she wasn’t the CFO for nothing! She was smart and savvy, stimulated by challenge, and graced with visions of what the future could become. So this really isn’t the end of the story. It’s the beginning.