Something for everyone at CFDG’s largest ever IT Conference

20th March 2009

Wise dolphins, a John Cleese impersonator, the de-globalisation of cyberspace and over 200 delegates made for an interesting and varied day at CFDG’s largest ever IT conference on Thursday 19th March at the Royal College of Surgeons.

Dr Robina Chatham, who was recently awarded a medal for the BSC IT industry award “IT Consultant of the Year”, opened the conference by telling delegates that they should tailor their communications to their specific audiences if they want to achieve influence. There are four basic influencing strategies. Finance Directors and IT people tend to be influenced by proof and logic but if they are trying to get a decision from their Chief Executive they need to demonstrate how their idea fits in the bigger picture, that the theoretical base is sound and will appeal intellectually and finally that they are a credible source of information.

The conference programme focused on strategic risks and rewards for Finance Directors responsible for IT. Risk came in the form of security including data protection, e-banking, and data leakage. These are particularly pertinent topics for charities particularly in the current climate when the risk of fraud is higher. Rewards came in the form of return on IT investment and Kevin Geeson, Group Director of Resources, RNIB highlighted that in order to get the greatest value from IT it needed to be a response to the corporate strategy and have a high profile in delivering the strategy. In mapping IT to the corporate strategy all relevant business areas should be involved to understand their objectives and what change is required. Tangible benefits from managing IT effectively are achieving a greater customer base, driving up income and efficiency, and putting in place appropriate processes for business continuity and disaster recovery that minimise the organisational impact.

Robert Carolina closed the conference with a fascinating look at the evolution of cyberspace. Robert emphasised that cyberspace does have borders and we need to be aware of those borders and understand them as they are protected by law. Robert also looked at how websites were becoming increasingly location customised and how for the financially astute this has yielded additional revenue streams.

The conference was kindly sponsored by Sayer Vincent and Touchstone Group.

- Ends –


Notes to Editor:

The Charity Finance Directors' Group was set up in 1987 and is an umbrella group that specialises in helping charities to manage their finance-related functions. CFDG’s circa 1,600 plus members are responsible for the finances of charities with a wide variety of income levels. Between them our members manage some £14.7 billion in charity income per year.


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