1D) Spending

Well, it is obvious. I have to state that understanding your spending is one of the first things you must do as a new CIO. Not a cursory overview in categories with totals in the millions of dollars, but detailed cost center by cost center and account by account. You simply must spend hours to crawl through all your spending across your whole organization and you must understand what you spend.

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When I first came into this job I worked directly for the CFO and one of my staff and I became partners in reviewing our spending. My associate and I had a cool, multi-dimensional drill down tool from Dimensional Insight called Cross Target. I’m not even sure if it still exists as a stand-alone tool. In any case, it was ahead of its time and it allowed us to slice and dice our spending vs budget every way possible. We quickly came to know our spending better than finance did and the CFO soon realized we knew our stuff. That deep understanding of our spending established a deep level of trust in me and IT with the CFO.

Using this tool and spending lots of time asking questions, we found a multi-million dollar problem that we quickly reported to the CFO. It was great to bring the problem to finance instead of them bringing it to us!

The next post will be the last tier-1 level item and it will be to get to know your staff. Your people are key and you need to think like Edwin Land at Polaroid who said he wanted to surround himself with people smarter than himself. That is next at 1F.

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