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Finance & IT Couples Therapy Guideline #2: Modify Dysfunctional Behavior

Chuck Czajkowski | | July 16, 2019

Your finance and IT departments aren’t monolithic, independent entities. They’re each composed of many, dozens or even hundreds of employees, each one with the shared desire to improve the organization’s bottom line.

 
Strengthening finance-IT relations can therefore be thought of as a form of couples therapy en masse. UCLA psychologists have come up with five principles for couples therapy that can help even dysfunctional relationships get back on the right track – including, perhaps, interdepartmental relationships like the finance-IT partnership. We discuss this idea in detail in our webinar “Couples Therapy: Getting Finance & IT to Play Nice.”

In the first post of this five-part series, we discussed how to rethink the foundations of the finance-IT relationship by working toward a common goal. This second post will discuss how you can put this concept into practice by changing the way that finance and IT behave toward each other.

Improve Your Interactions

When your IT resources go down or have performance issues, the finance team is often the first to know about it. After all, finance is often heavily dependent on enterprise performance management (EPM) software like Oracle Hyperion in order to do its job.

Unfortunately, the different functions of IT and finance mean that it’s a challenge for both sides to effectively communicate. While the IT help desk is talking about packets and latency, finance just wants to know when the application will be coming back online. In this high-stress environment, it’s all too easy for both sides to start snipping at each other, rather than work productively to fix the issue.

To heal the finance-IT divide, both departments need to accentuate the positives in their interactions and stress the importance of mutual respect. If the technical jargon from IT is too impenetrable to understand, then finance should ask questions in order to clarify, and IT should try to put the issue in layman’s terms.

Know What is Possible

The business silo is one of the most common symptoms of a problematic finance-IT relationship. To fix the cycle of unhelpful behavior, both finance and IT need to ask questions like:

  • What information from the other department do we need, and what information is available to us?
  • If data is not available to us, is there a good reason for that?
  • Who is responsible for setting these policies and procedures? Should they be reevaluated at regular intervals?

 
Technology like Datavail’s Accelatis platform can serve as an enabler by creating a centralized repository for IT and finance to collaborate and share information. At the end of every quarter and year, both departments should take the time to look over their recent successes and failures, and create a playbook that outlines different roles and responsibilities.

Conclusion

Visibility, sharing information, and clear communication are key in order to free finance and IT from the unproductive behavior that’s unfortunately all too common in the modern organization.

In the next blog post of this five-part series, we’ll discuss some ways that finance and IT can actively improve communication between them. If you want to get all our advice in an easily digestible video format, check out Datavail’s complete webinar “Couples Therapy: Getting Finance & IT to Play Nice”.

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