I have nothing against CFOs. It's a tough position with a lot of pressures that can easily be misunderstood. That being said, it is the money people \n\nwho generally stand in the way of engineers and technologists and the spending required to accomplish great things with IT. It is a common problem we all have\u2014dealing with accounting, the CFO or other non-IT management. Of course, our running joke is the CFO \n\nthinks of technology as a $499 PC they can pick up at Staples or OfficeMax. They don't understand why $29 billion is collectively used to power and \n\ncool IT infrastructure; 50-cents for every dollar spent on servers. They do understand the "space crunch" that IT manifests at $2,400 a server and \n\n$40,000 a rack at $1,000 a square foot. They see the money going out the door. Then they read about "server sprawl" and the $140 billion in excess \n\nserver capacity available in the U.S. \u2014 a three year supply. No wonder they get so upset: "You're spending how much? On what?"So we walk away with the feeling they simply don't get IT. But some of the problem belongs with us \u2014 we don't communicate in the language \n\nof the CFO. And because we don't, we shouldn't act surprised when we get pushback on spending requests. This needs to change. Here are ten areas \n\nwhere we, as the promoters of IT, can begin to communicate better with the CFO:1.\tThink TCO, not ROITraditional ROI thinking won't work anymore for us. To the CFO, return on investment is how much money you're going to give back to the \n\ncompany. Let's face it. Most IT projects\u2014no matter how compelling\u2014don't bring "return" to the organization like an additional sales \n\nperson, a new marketing campaign, or a new product launch. Discuss projects with CFOs in terms of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Repeat it until \n\nyou are blue in the face\u2014IT projects are overhead. You get over this by demonstrating fiscal stewardship by showing that you are providing the \n\nlowest cost. To do that you must provide options, comparisons, case studies, and examples.2.\tCloudsCFOs like what they hear about cloud computing as a cost saver. Don't fight them on it. You can leverage what they are hearing in order to steer \n\ncloud spending on the right IT projects. All CFOs understand that you don't want private customer records or sensitive financial data "in the cloud," for \n\nexample. Incorporate cloud or managed services for tactical, not strategic, applications.Cloud Computing Definitions and Solutions3.\tGreen ITFor all the talk about Green IT, are you not surprised that for CFOs it still has nothing to do with the environment? The reality is no green projects \n\nexist unless they have a better TCO. You can forget about there being a market to pay a premium for Green IT. Again, it is important here to build a case \n\non typically hidden facts. What are you really paying for power, space, etc., that might help justify the business spend on green technology? Once you \n\nbuild a solid business case on facts, only then bring up the PR and community relations intangibles of being a solid, environmentally-conscious firm. How to Get Your Green IT Cred4, 5 and 6. Virtualize, Virtualize and VIRTUALIZEThis subject takes up three spots because there are three key virtualization targets\u2014servers, desktop and storage. But again, the key here is \n\nhow to justify and how now NOT to justify.Virtualization Definition and SolutionsLet's start with server virtualization\u2014it's the easiest to justify TCO-wise. The challenge is to provide accurate savings estimates up-front. In \n\nother words, don't guess as to the savings. Many times virtualization projects are viewed as unsuccessful because the savings don't match the up-front \n\npromises. This can be avoided by running a formal assessment before asking for funds. Collect real-world usage statistics to build an accurate business \n\ncase. And don't use low-traffic period estimates. If your IT use peaks during the end-of-the-month business close, then include that time period in your \n\nassessment. Desktop virtualization projects usually require a multi-year business case. It's tough to justify a full-scale VDI program in the first year because of the \n\nup-front capital expenses. But VDI can extend the typical three-year desktop refresh cycle, reduce operating costs for support, maintenance and \n\nupgrades, and reduce subsequent year capital expenditures.\n\nFinally, check into the new wave of storage virtualization products. They can lower capital spending by up to 90%. \n\n7. Adopt IT-Centric Business ContinuityThree major concepts (risk management, disaster recovery and business continuity) have become blurred over the years because the responsibility of \n\nplanning has been foisted upon IT leadership without the explicit participation of business leadership (the CFO?).Four Best Practices For IT Availability And Service Continuity ManagementThis needs to change. And the change can come about by the adoption of new planning for business continuity that is IT-centric. By adding a couple \n\nof critical steps in the planning process line, the overwhelming burden of IT leadership to determine which business units are most important, what \n\npriorities should exist after a disaster, and how to ensure business continuity is removed. Decisions no longer will be made in a vacuum and will result in \n\nthe optimal dynamics within the cost, time and risk relationship for a particular enterprise.8. Align with the Big PictureIt should go without saying that IT projects should align with the benefit to the organization's core mission. Unfortunately, many projects do not. IT \n\nhas to get this message out and communicate it beyond the IT group. To align IT with key business objectives, you have to understand how IT is the \n\ndifferentiation or delivery of the product or service.9. Proactive Cost ReductionDuPont is like a lot of big companies that learn the hard way. Organizations that retain documents beyond required retention periods will face higher costs \n\nand greater risks should that information be subject to discovery. So DuPont did a three year internal study of document discovery requests. They \n\nlearned that in three years, 75 million pages of text were reviewed. They also learned that 50% of the documents that were reviewed were kept beyond \n\ntheir required retention period. DuPont estimated the cost of reviewing documents past their retention periods was $12 million. For this particular \n\nexample, "e-mail archiving" is a good way to demonstrate to CFOs that IT can be proactive in cutting costs. Always be on the lookout for these kinds of \n\nprojects.\n\n10. Reduce Data Center CostsModular data centers are becoming a way to cut costs. Google and other major players are starting to look to this model to avoid building & \n\nconstruction costs. The use of managed or hosted services should be another consideration. This combination can reduce capital expenses with \n\nincremental expansion. It can also bring about 40 percent lower cooling costs in 1\/8th the space.Slideshow: Secrets of Successful Data CentersWhile the relationship between CFO and CIO can sometimes have more debits than credits, it is definitely worth the investment in time and effort to \n\nhighlight IT projects in terms the CFO will understand. This means working hard to determine the full financial impact of your programs, demonstrating \n\nthat you are looking at the total cost of ownership, and considering the company-wide financial impact of your projects. While past performance is no \n\nguarantee of future returns, if you can successfully strengthen the relationship between you and your CFO the return on investment\u2014excuse \n\nme\u2014I mean the total cost of ownership can be stunning.About the Author: Irwin Teodoro is Director of Engineering, Systems Integration, for Laurus Technologies (www.laurustech.com), a leading provider of IT consulting and systems integration solutions. He \n\nis responsible for assessment services, integration of multi-vendor solutions, and coordination of professional service project for Laurus. Previously, \n\nTeodoro handled professional services and consulting roles for Sayers, EMC, StorageTek, and Comdisco. He can be reached at email@example.com.