Histories of information technology will recall 2010 as the year when cloud computing spilled into the consciousness of nongeeks. CFOs, for their part, got engaged in analyses of which computing workloads could be managed more cost-effectively by converting the capital expense of on-premises hardware and software into the cloud model’s pay-as-you-go operating expense.
It wasn’t all about cost, though. Large companies still shied away from diverting mission-critical applications to cloud platforms, often driven by distrust of the cloud’s data-security capabilities. Outside of corporate confines, technology experts grew increasingly confident that such concern, if not yet an anachronism, was sliding steadily in that direction.
At the same time, though, frustration boiled over among auditors who alleged that technology vendors engaged in wholesale misrepresentation of their prowess in the areas of security and privacy by trumpeting their receipt of “SAS 70” audit reports. SAS 70 was always intended, rather, to opine on internal controls over financial reporting, auditors pointed out.
Other top technology stories of 2010 examined whether CFOs and their chief information officers were at last making solid progress toward understanding one another, how to build a data warehouse from scratch, why company Websites may be in for a rude awakening, whether mobile corporate banking is the wave of the future, and what CFOs need and don’t need to know to ably oversee the IT function.
Here are the editors’ top picks:
As the dominant IT paradigm continues to shift, companies need to manage critical components of the migration.
Before companies can migrate their IT to “private” or “public” clouds, they need a better grasp of current costs.
Lured by easy, inexpensive cloud-computing services, business units are bypassing IT departments when choosing solutions, creating a rise in “shadow IT.”
CFOs who put too much trust in this high-profile report may be putting their companies at risk.
CFOs who oversee technology should have no fear: a methodical, top-down management approach can produce strong results.
Smaller companies have shied away from data-warehouse projects, but when done right such projects can stay on course and provide genuine value.
By zeroing in on commonalities, CFOs and CIOs can set the table for overcoming areas of discord.
Software that unites governance, risk, and compliance continues to evolve – slowly.
How to bridge the finance-IT perception gap?
A new software offering has the potential to automate finance benchmarking.
The current buzz is about their hard drives, but more crucial is to safeguard their operating systems, some experts say.
Companies are moving slowly to perform upgrades that will make their sites accessible to those with new Internet connections in 2011.
A new technology platform could unchain financial managers from their desks – or not.
But it’s not fading from sight as quickly as other material weaknesses are.
As travel-expense management systems become integrated with booking systems, companies can finally see what they’re spending, and reduce it.
Predictive analytics software wins an enthusiastic user base.
Harrah’s Entertainment exemplifies the burgeoning use of broad, IT-enabled experimentation to improve businesses.