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Strategic Technology Decisions Require HR, IT and Finance to Work Together

Author

Bill Cushard

More by Bill
Author

Bill Cushard

More by Bill

According to PWC, nearly 90 percent of CEOs are reevaluating how they make strategic technology decisions to deliver on stakeholder expectations. As technology plays a larger role in every industry, and as results depend more on the effective use of technology, organizations need to make smarter decisions about the technology they purchase. C-Suite members in HR, IT and Finance, who each have a deep understanding of the people who use technology (HR), what is possible with technology (IT) and the ability to analyze the effectiveness of technology investments (Finance), must work together to improve how organizations make informed, strategic technology decisions.

But before HR, IT and Finance can improve how strategic technology decisions are made, they must come together as a team to pool their unique skills and experience.

What Team Are You On, Anyway?

According to Patrick Lencioni, author of "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable," C-suite executives are most concerned about performance of their own team (HR, IT, Finance), rather than what is happening on the executive team. Executives need to understand that they serve on two teams, "the team they lead and the team they are a member of." The team they lead is generally their priority.

While allocating a budget for new technology, however, if HR, IT and Finance executives put the C-suite team first, it can serve as the catalyst to find the answer to the question, "How can this team use resources to implement new technology that will move the entire organization forward?

Simply prioritizing the C-suite team over functional, siloed teams can make all the difference.

Understand Customer Needs

Just as marketing, sales and service teams gain a deep understanding of customers' passion points and challenges through regular, direct interactions with your target audience, HR, IT and Finance can gain greater understanding of customer needs by spending time with these front-line teams and finding opportunties to listen to the voice-of-the-customer through survey results and other forums.

Focus on Top Organizational Priorities

Another way that HR, IT and Finance can make informed, strategic technology decisions is to focus on the top priorities of the business. Some organizations are focused on growth at the expense of profit margins. Others prioritize operational efficiency. Many are in cost-cutting mode. No matter the aim, technology decisions, if they are to be strategic, should be made to support these top priorities.

Keep Current With Technology Trends

A third part of making informed, strategic technology decisions is to stay current on technology trends. This will likely be more natural for IT than for HR and Finance, but not a guarantee. Leadership could suffer from the curse of knowledge, according to the Harvard Business Review, and miss opportunities to learn about new technology or even see technology trends coming.

A deliberate effort to stay current on technology trends is vital for anyone who contributes directly to the success of any organization. One way to stay current is to read reports from technology analyst firms like Gartner, who publish the yearly report: Top Strategic Technology Trends.

Pooling Unique Abilities to Make Better Decisions as a Team

If 90 percent of CEOs are reevaluating how they make strategic technology decisions, it shows how important getting technology right affects overall business success. HR, IT and Finance have a unique opportunity to lead the reevaluation process and exert influence on how organizations make those decisions. By understanding customer needs, focusing on top organizational priorities and understanding the technology landscape, HR, IT and Finance can pool their unique expertise to make better informed, strategic technology decisions.