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White Paper


Leaders VS Laggards: How CFOs are navigating the opportunities and challenges of digital transformation

December 10, 2018

This white paper is hosted by SAPinsider and sponsored by WIS Executive Research Group.

Digital transformation is radically changing every aspect of the business and placing greater demands on corporate leaders — nobody more so than the chief financial officer (CFO). Top finance executives are being expected to work closely with customers, seek business opportunities, and help drive the technological changes sweeping through the enterprise. The new worlds are not for the faint of heart. Finance officers need to transform their role if they are to keep up with, or overtake, the changes taking place in their companies. This is one of the key findings of a global online survey of 125 CFOs and 125 chief information officers (CIOs) undertaken by Wellesley Information Services Executive Research Group (WIS-ERG) in January 2018, in addition to interviews with four CFOs from diverse industries. Other important insights show intriguing contrasts between the perspective of CFOs and CIOs. These include:

  • More than three in five CFOs see major opportunities to re-define their role and become a stronger strategic partner in the business.
  • More than 80% of CFOs say their role has changed as a result of digital transformation.
  • There is emphatic agreement among CFOs that digital transformation has increased the need for collaboration between the CFO and almost every other function, especially general management.
  • CFOs say that cloud computing and mobile technologies have had the greatest impact on their role in the business.
  • CFOs agree that ‘soft’ skills will become much more important to success as a business leader in the digital era. Communication skills, in particular, are more important than ever.
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