I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “innovate or die.”  The phrase was originally coined by Peter Drucker in one of his many writings on management. But what is innovation? Peter Drucker says that innovation is purposeful and results from systematic analysis and hard work. I love this definition because it includes hard work. Companies that work the hardest, analyze what they are doing wrong, and review all their available data not only stave off a slow death, but thrive in a compounding way.

Systematic innovation therefore consists in the purposeful and organized search for changes, and in the systematic analysis of the opportunities such changes might offer for economic or social innovation.

Peter Drucker – Innovation and entrepreneurship – Pg. 35

Compounding Interest…I mean Innovation

Would you be surprised to know that only 4.5% of the Fortune 1000 and S&P Euro 350 companies have grown faster and more consistently than the other 95.5% over the past 20 years? These companies are clearly doing something right. Whether it’s hard work, analysis, or a systemic review, these companies are clearly innovators. With an average annual return that’s 7% higher than their peers, these few companies prove that there is a compound effect to consistent and constant innovation.

Death By Innovation

From high school to college, Sears has been the example of choice to show what a lack of innovation does to a company. At one time, Sears was the go-to retail giant for most of your daily needs. Sears paved the way for small-time credit lending with there version of a credit card before banks took up the idea. It wasn’t until the early 2000s and the emergence of internet retailers that Sears stopped being relevant and started regressing. Sears even doubled down on the instore shopping approach by discontinuing their successful catalog program. Ever since then Sears has struggled to keep afloat. Innovation propelled Sears to the top of the food chain (metaphorically, K-Mart was never a serious competitor) and the lack of innovation sunk Sears market share like a rock.

CFOs Drive Innovation

The other lead cause of a stagnant company, besides lack of innovation previously mentioned, is the inability to flex with the markets. According to Gartner, “the CFO’s no. 1 mandate is to drive efficient growth despite economic and business hurdles.” It’s so easy to get caught up in a booming economy that some companies forget to keep an eye on their bottom line. When do you think CFO’s can drive the most value to their company? During times of uncertainty and volatility or during times of stability and growth? Turns out that CFO’s who enact strategic changes during times of uncertainty which focus on the top and bottom line can deliver 11% more shareholder value, according to Gartner.

As a side note, Gartner created a list of questions CFO’s should be asking when trying to grow efficiently which you can find here: https://www.gartner.com/en/insights/efficient-growth/cost-efficient-growth

Market downturn

As stated before, a CFO’s ability to drive top and bottom-line efficiency during times of uncertainty can mean the difference between growing and being left behind. Put yourself in the seat of the shareholder, would you rather invest in a company that just tries to maintain during a downturn or company that pushes the envelope, drives efficiency, cut costs, and innovates during a downturn? Some may choose the former, but shareholders love the latter (if you can pull it off). Think back to that 11% higher return from the last paragraph.

“Slow revenue growth, increasing cost pressure, heightened global uncertainty are challenging CFOs to advance their cost, capital, and business unit performance management practices. Now is a critical period for organization’s to drive shareholder value. Leading companies that consistently drive top- and bottom-line improvement generate the greatest total shareholder return premium over their industry peers during periods of slow revenue growth that often come before an economic downturn.”

– Gartner White Paper
If you want to learn more about navigating a downturn, check out Gartner’s white paper on the subject: https://www.gartner.com/en/finance/insights/prepare-for-an-upswing-or-downturn/preparing-the-organization-for-an-economic-downturn

Pressing the advantage

While innovation is necessary to grow, cost efficiency makes you sustainable in the longer run. CFO’s are on the front lines of pressing this innovation advantage. Now that you know that only 4.5% of Fortune 1000 and S&P Euro 350 companies have grown faster and more consistently than their peers over the past 20 years, and top and bottom-line efficiency improvements during time of uncertainty render the highest return to shareholders, you can now effectively navigate, survive, and possibly even thrive during the next inevitable economic downturn.


Let us know your concerns when it comes to and economic downturn: LinkedIn

Check out the research for yourself here: https://www.gartner.com/en/insights/efficient-growth

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Cross Business Collaboration

You lead IT spend and determined that the best solution for your company’s overall data mining needs is a solution with DataFox for $1.2 million.

Unbeknownst to you, your European subsidiary purchased data mining solutions from Rialto for $900,000.

You know that the solution your department purchases and manages could solve for the European marketing’s team needs.

With this knowledge and insights, you can streamline your overall company spend on data mining and marketing and get even better solutions and value out of your vendor, for less.

TBM ResearchGet the PDF of our findings.

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Eliminate Excess Vendors

Using the CXO Nexus InCight™ dashboard reveals that you are paying four unique security companies, three of whose contracts you believed had expired.

Their contracts had automatically rolled over and you realize that you are paying for redundant vendor services.

Ensure Regulatory Compliance

You realize you are spending 800% more on a regulated vendor than you were aware, due to multiple resellers and geographical spend discrepancies.

(Not uncommon).

You are now at risk with regulatory agencies for inaccurately reporting and for spending more on a riskier vendor.

Identify Business-Led Spend

Business-led IT investments can be additive (they don't divert money away from the CIO's budget) and they often focus on collaboration tools, analytics and technologies to engage customers or improve, whether it's a new CRM tool or social media analytics.

If spent wisely, these investments can give a competitive advantage to a specific part of the business, whether finance, marketing or sales.

Business leaders are seeking out their own tools to analyze and present data. But these tools are only valuable if employees have the skills and judgment to use them effectively for decision making. 

As long as the CIO retains oversight and can educate the rest of the business about the risks, it can often be a better, cheaper way to achieve the goals of the IT department, especially when it comes to new innovations.

John LindsayChief Financial Officer

John Lindsay brings over 35 years of experience at Financial and Research Enterprises. He served as EVP and CFO of The451 Group Research and has held senior finance roles at AMEX & Saatchi & Saatchi.


Ken Male, CEO - has over 25 years of leadership positions in IT and Internet Research working across the C suite, from Gartner to Jupiter to Apptio. Founder & CEO of IT Research firm TheInfoPro (TIP), acquired by The451 Group in 2011. Prior to that, Ken was SVP of Global Sales for Jupiter Research and was active in their 2000 IPO. He led Benchmarking & Data at Apptio from 2013-2015.

John LarkPresident

John Lark’s in-depth background includes business and technical leadership, marketing strategy and tactical marketing know-how, SaaS and Cloud innovation and evangelism, marketing strategy, API development, and collaborative growth via partner engagement and development to the CXO Nexus team.
John was formerly Global Vice President of ISV Business Development at SAP Ariba. Prior to that, as the Vice President of Business Development and Partner Cloud Ecosystems at SAP Ariba. John was responsible for developing and launching a new business inside of SAP that melded cloud solutions with partner ecosystems and expertise, API's, and data exchanges that delivered innovative global capabilities to customers that ran the gamut of delivering core enterprise fundamentals to analytics and machine learning to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and bots. John’s efforts led to corporate-wide scale-ability in operations as well as an innovative profit model. John bridged across internal and partner executives and among diverse roles such as Finance, Operations, Legal, Controlling, Product Development and Sales.

Monthly Expense Reduction Opportunities

A Fortune 500 spends $1M+ on a team that includes 12 data scientists + hired consultants to understand spend data. After 3 months, the data is inaccurate, un-actionable and only relevant at that moment in time.

With CXO Nexus:

> Redundant spend on Cisco is identified as multiple resellers are identified as selling across multiple departments.

> Vendor Rollup feature reveals you’re spending $7M more with Dell than you thought because you didn’t realize that Dell acquired VMWare and you weren’t leveraging your combined spend with both companies.

> This Visibility gives you the negotiation leverage for a discount saving you millions.

> Your cost savings from these insights enable investment in the latest Cybersecurity and mobile, driving higher revenues and performance

Negotiation Leverage

You negotiate with Pivotal believing that you spend $1.5M each year with them per year.

You learn that Dell has acquired them, and between Dell, EMC, VMWare and Pivotal, that you are spending an annual $14M with all of them under the Dell umbrella.

You bring this leverage into your negotiations and drive much better terms across all of these vendors.

Peer Comparison

You are in the midst of a major cloud migration.

You are considering a serious upgrade to your systems.

You are assessing whether to stay committed to your primary storage vendor, but through the CXO Nexus Peer InCights, you see that spending is down significantly with this vendor by your peers, and that many are investing in a newer solution from another vendor.

This performance insight spurs you to research further into competitive developments, patent filings and macro trends.

Automated Spend Categorization

You spend $10M/year with Cisco, but you have no idea how that spend breaks down. 

Your procurement system identifies this spend as networking, but you realize that

  • 20% of that spend is on networking,
  • 15% is on Wireless and Mobile,
  • 40% is on security,
  • 17% is on Data Centers,
  • 8% is on Analytics.

This information will change your needs analysis and the way you negotiate with your vendors in the upcoming year.

Reduce Vendor Risk

You have identified vendors who are no longer in compliance with your regulatory needs, but because you have not audited your vendor list recently, you realize that several of your vendors no longer satisfy your security requirements.

You realize that some of these contracts extend out for years.

You can begin mitigating this risk by shoring up other vendors who meet your risk standards.