Since early 2020, organizations around the world have experienced first-hand how cloud communications technologies can help them quickly transition to working from home. They've also seen how the cloud enables them to support new ways to interact with customers and connect with supply chain partners regardless of location. This experience has made the concept of "digital transformation" part of the CFO's vernacular.

Moving beyond business resilience to growth and innovation, it's important for finance leaders to be savvy in both the financial and technical sides of the business. For example, communications technology like eXperience Communications as a Service (XCaaS)—a single cloud platform that integrates contact center, voice, video, and chat—has the potential to transform an organization's customer and employee experiences, as well as its communication costs and risk profile.

The CFO-CIO partnership success formula

This intersection of technology, business strategy, and cost control has lifted the CFO-CIO relationship to a new level. Any disconnect between these C-suite peers can have a significant long-term impact on the business. That's why a solid CFO-CIO partnership is needed to guide digital transformation investments that can maximize returns and mitigate risk.

Recent research revealed that nearly seventy percent of CFOs viewed their CIO counterparts favorably. At the same time, almost half confirmed that their CIO helps connect the dots between technology and business decisions. With over two-thirds of CFOs advocating for their CIO, this strong relationship can enable this C-suite duo to execute digital transformation efforts successfully in their organization.

ClOs must demonstrate clear business value and ROI

Modern CFOs are generally the creators of organization-wide cost structures and gatekeepers of IT budgets. Today, they are becoming more and more aware of the strategic value of cloud communications and its potential for delivering returns and controlling costs. This understanding makes them more inclined to sponsor projects with clearly defined business goals.

So, when IT leaders present investment proposals that demonstrate business value and strong ROI, CFOs are better equipped to play a crucial role in making them happen. Funding key digital transformation initiatives backed by a strong CIO business case can even lead to CFO-led board efforts to secure funding.

New strategic investments like XCaaS free up IT resources and budgets that can then be re-assigned to support critical revenue-generating initiatives that help the organization adapt and thrive. In this way, finance chiefs are on the quickest path to becoming change agents within their organizations.

Collaboration on infrastructure decisions

Funding strategic priorities, like business communications and customer engagement tools, is often complex. It can be challenging to sustain business growth and profitability when the rising costs of outdated or disjointed legacy systems outweigh their benefits.

Today, CFO's are increasingly scrutinizing their organization's current infrastructure investments. This includes such things as vendor-forced updates of standalone phone systems, maintaining on-premises video collaboration tools, and undertaking expensive and disruptive contact center upgrades. Two-thirds of CFOs admit that wasteful spending on upkeep projects does not "move the needle."

CIO's that partner with their CFO early in the technology evaluation process are more likely to have funding approved. This includes choosing a new provider for business communications.

XCaaS: a win-win for the CFO and CIO

One of the best ways to achieve both finance and IT goals is to choose a single communications provider that integrates all employee communications and customer engagement tools on a unified cloud platform. According to Metrigy Research, having one integrated communications platform can deliver a measurable return on investment and 56% lower TCO than a multi-vendor strategy.

The 8x8 XCaaS Platform is designed from the ground up to ensure high-availability uptime for all employee and customer communications. We use Tier 1 platform infrastructure that enables rapid innovation, automated testing, and frequent deployments with minimal risk through management toolsets geared towards continuous delivery and elastic scale, while reinforcing security and governance. These are all the elements needed for the CFO-CIO team to build a solid investment case with a clear business value and strong ROI.

The figure below further illustrates how organizations can realize significant value over three years by using an XCaaS platform.


Driving value with XCaaS

With digital transformation now a top-level agenda item, a solid CFO-CIO partnership is more important than ever. This means that financial decision-makers must learn the language of technology. Similarly, CIOs need to understand the CFO's perspective; whether it's about digital transformation initiatives or IT infrastructure, they must critically review operating costs and treat each budgetary line as one which demonstrates value.

The past year and a half have taught both CFOs and CIOs many lessons about flexibility, collaboration, and the importance of communications technology for business resilience and innovation. As we look towards the coming year and beyond, the potential of XCaaS will continue to fuel cross-functional collaboration and deliver a successful strategy for both CFOs and CIOs.

Ready to rein in spiraling costs from multiple communications tools? Use the 8x8 ROI Calculator to see the potential savings that you can achieve with 8x8 XCaaS.