Best of 2010: Technology

The editors pick the year's top tech stories, with cloud computing front and center.
CFO StaffJanuary 5, 2011

Best of 2010

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.

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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:

Be Clear about the Cloud

As the dominant IT paradigm continues to shift, companies need to manage critical components of the migration.

Your Cloud or Mine?

Before companies can migrate their IT to “private” or “public” clouds, they need a better grasp of current costs.

The Cloud Casts a Shadow

Lured by easy, inexpensive cloud-computing services, business units are bypassing IT departments when choosing solutions, creating a rise in “shadow IT.”

The Truth About SAS 70

CFOs who put too much trust in this high-profile report may be putting their companies at risk.

An Action Plan for IT

CFOs who oversee technology should have no fear: a methodical, top-down management approach can produce strong results.

If You Build It…

Smaller companies have shied away from data-warehouse projects, but when done right such projects can stay on course and provide genuine value.

Harmony in the C-Suite

By zeroing in on commonalities, CFOs and CIOs can set the table for overcoming areas of discord.

GRC: The Solution Remains Elusive

Software that unites governance, risk, and compliance continues to evolve – slowly.

A Sense of Agreement

How to bridge the finance-IT perception gap?

Today KPIs, Tomorrow Benchmarks?

A new software offering has the potential to automate finance benchmarking.

Copiers: How Great Are the Risks?

The current buzz is about their hard drives, but more crucial is to safeguard their operating systems, some experts say.

Trouble Looms for Company Websites

Companies are moving slowly to perform upgrades that will make their sites accessible to those with new Internet connections in 2011.

Will Mobile Corporate Banking Fly?

A new technology platform could unchain financial managers from their desks – or not.

IT-Control Weakness Wanes

But it’s not fading from sight as quickly as other material weaknesses are.

Round-Trip Cost Control

As travel-expense management systems become integrated with booking systems, companies can finally see what they’re spending, and reduce it.

Big Retailers Put Testing to the Test

Predictive analytics software wins an enthusiastic user base.

Testing, Testing: The New Innovation Game

Harrah’s Entertainment exemplifies the burgeoning use of broad, IT-enabled experimentation to improve businesses.