Sunday, March 14, 2010

CFO = Value Integrator...CHCO = ?

IBM released their 2010 Global CFO Study last week. Another quality product that points to some interesting things that CHCOs, CHROs, CTOs, and CLOs should know and understand in working across organizations specific to Financial Capital and Human Capital. My perspective is this...we need to understand explicitly what is happening in the broader organizational enterprise to continue to support it and enable decision advantage in respect to human capital investment decisions.

The first thing that jumped out at me is this statement in the CFO study:

"Our research, however, also points to a bright spot – one group of Finance organizations with a particular combination of capabilities stands out from its peers. These organizations – which we call Value Integrators – are more effective in every area assessed, with significant advantages in managing enterprise risk, measuring and monitoring business performance and driving insight from information integrated across their companies and governments."

As HCM leaders, we should play a role in understanding enterprise risk in respect to human capital decisions across the global enterprise. The human capital investments required to identify, acquire, build and retain human capital pertaining to business decisions to enter new growth markets or expand mission capabilities involve human capital management (HCM) risks. For example, can we develop the human capital capabilities required to move into that area (global or functional)? We also play a role in measuring and monitoring business performance based upon the human capital investments we ask the organization to make...we should be able to make those value-add linkages. Finally driving insight from information integration is a domain for us. How do we take the myriad of human capital information and data available to provide decision advantage to our organizations in making HCM decisions?

So with CFOs as "Value Integrators," I see a similar role and opportunity for HCM leaders. To continue to learn as a profession, we need to read these type of studies and understand them and their implications to our profession. How can we learn from this to position our HCM leaders in these same organizations as a similar "Value Integrator?"

Larger Role for CFOs

The study also indicates that CFOs are playing a larger role as an advisor and decision-maker in the organization not only in their traditional areas, but also influencing other enterprise-wide decisions. If you look at the embedded graph in more lays out a number of areas where the CFO is playing this role to include:

- Enterprise Cost Reduction Management
- Selection of Key Performance Indicators
- Capital Asset Manager
- Risk Management
- Prioritization of Resource Management
- Strategic Revenue Planning
- Business Model Innovation
- Information Management Strategy

I think our profession can be the trusted advisor on HCM aspects of these areas in enabling decision advantage. While we play a direct role in some of these areas, we likely have our own HCM areas to influence enterprise-wide decisions. Some of these areas might include the following;

- Human Capital Reduction Strategy - Provide decision advantage so the right talent is maintained at the organization in high risk environments.
- Merger & Acquisition HCM Assessment - What Human Capital capability and capacity does the M&A bring?

CFO as Decision-making Hub

"Value Integrators – more than any other group – are equipped to advise at an enterprise level. They are positioned to evaluate business opportunities and risks in an end-to-end context and recommend difficult trade-offs among units, markets and business functions. A U.K. CFO explained the opportunity this way: “With the data we have and our deep understanding of the business, Finance can become the decision-making hub of the company.”

As this U.K. CFO states...the CFO should be the decision-making hub for finance decisions. Can we imply then that the CHCO should be the decision-making hub for HCM decisions? My position is YES! But to get there we have to develop sound strategic human capital business models and performance measures that allow us to tie our activities to the business.

CHCO = ?

If the CFO is the Value Integrator...what will the CHCO be to the organization? Talent Integrator? Business Enabler? I don't know...plenty of indications that a seat at the table is unlikely unless we change our HCM business model to reflect how we enable business strategy directly. This would support making the case for CHCOs to be the hub for human capital decision-making.

IBM's 2010 Global Human Capital Survey will hopefully answer that question this year. Whatever the answer though, we have to be ready to act as a profession and drive ourselves to get there.

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