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  • CFO.com | US

CFOs and Gadgets: A Love/Hate Relationship

Execs say they spend too much time with their mobile gadgets. Then again, execs say they love their gadgets.

Executives are rarely seen without their PDA or cell phone — whether they’re on the subway, in their car, or buying bread at the grocery store. But they’d like to be.

All the time, day and night, 81 percent of executives are connected to their work through their mobile devices, including laptops and pagers, according to a recent Korn/Ferry International survey of more than 2,300 global executives. More than one-third of them believe they spend too much time connected to these communication tools.

The upside of these hands-free gadgets, of course, is the flexibility they offer businesspeople; 77 percent of the survey respondents said the gadgets have enhanced work/life balance.

Indeed, Korn/Ferry’s numbers capture the love/hate relationship that executives have with their mobile devices. CFO magazine explored the happier side of that relationship last year, when, for example, Gary Sender, CFO of regenerative-medicine specialist Tengion, showed off his Blackberry 7780 to open and review Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. During a train trip, he had used the device when closing a critical financial transaction for the company. “Since we have a small staff of people trying to juggle many projects at the same time,” Sender told CFO magazine, “Blackberries allow us to move at a much faster pace.”

From payment-processing specialist Litle & Co., vice president of sales Michael Shatz also told CFO last year that lighter, smaller devices make his life easier. His Treo 650 let him plug his database into a tidy package and save his shoulder from a heavy laptop bag. “Now there are trips where I don’t have to take my PC — and that’s huge,” he told CFO. “Who wants to lug around a big device?”

Then again, who wants to lug around their office?

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