The Deloitte Vlerick Research Chair

Celebrating the first year of a successful partnership
1 April 2010

Brussels, 1st April 2010 – Today, the Deloitte Vlerick Research Chair celebrates its first birthday. This cooperation between Deloitte and Vlerick conducted a study in 2009, which aimed to bridge the gap between the corporate board and technology management, and which delved into how a turbulent environment was shaping technology-related decision-making and the relationships between information technology (IT) and business. In 2010 research will go further by looking into the nature and quality of the CFO-CIO relationship.

The relationship between Deloitte and Vlerick stretches back many years. Deloitte’s role as a foundation partner, and several successful joint initiatives, have led to strong ties between them. Moreover, many Deloitte people are Vlerick alumni. To build on this relationship still further, in 2009 the Deloitte Vlerick Research Chair was founded in order to conduct annual research projects on a range of practical business issues, with the aim of bridging the gap between business management and IT management.

Deloitte Vlerick Research Chair’s Sponsorship and Leadership

Rik Vanpeteghem (CEO) and Stephan Raemaekers (Consulting Managing Director) are the Deloitte sponsors of this partnership. On the Deloitte side, the initiative is led by Christian Combes (Consulting Partner, CIO Services). The sponsors for the Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School are Professor Dr Philippe Haspeslagh (Dean) and Professor Dr Stijn Viaene (Partner).

2009 Research Report: Engaging in Turbulent Times – Direction-Setting for Business and IT Alignment

In its first year, the Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School and Deloitte produced an in-depth research project: Engaging in Turbulent Times – Direction-Setting for Business and IT Alignment. The study was conducted by Professor Dr Stijn Viaene (Professor of Management and IT at the Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School & K.U.Leuven), Olivier Jolyon (Manager at Deloitte) and Steven De Hertogh (PhD Researcher at the Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School).

A research report was presented on 15 October 2009 before an audience of invited CXOs. Examining the way last two years’ turbulent environment had shaped technology-related decision-making and the relationships between IT and business, the study drew on interviews with CIOs and CFOs from 18 selected world-class firms.

Stijn Viaene elaborates on the results: “The crisis seems to have functioned as a catalyst for rethinking the way the IT Department can align itself with its demand side, and also the other way around. We noticed that the historical duality that has existed between Business and IT is, in many mature organisations, gradually ebbing away.”

Christian Combes: “At the heart of the research report lies a theme-based compilation of best practices and insights that were identified to help set the direction for a more effective engagement between Business and IT. The report synthesises four business-IT engagement themes: Bonding At The Top, Looking For Benefits, Serving Professionally and Engaging Respectfully.”

Download the research report.

2010 Research Project: Bonding At The Top – The CFO-CIO relationship

For the second research initiative the Deloitte Vlerick Research Chair will dig deeper into the first theme identified in 2009: “bonding at the top”. In many companies, current economic conditions are prompting CFOs and CIOs to intensify their collaboration. Together they are looking for ways to improve returns on (information) assets, prioritise capital investments, and unlock and exploit high quality, integrated corporate performance information.

However, the exact expectations each party has of the other, have not yet been unequivocally identified through rigorous research. What kinds of knowledge, behaviour and sensitivity do CIOs and CFOs expect each other to portray? Even more important, do they share common expectations, or are some CIOs and CFOs simply heading in different directions?

The Deloitte Vlerick Research Chair plans to fully uncover and capture the nature and best practices of CFO-CIO relationships, and examine how a good relationship affects corporate performance. Research results will be published in March 2011.

“For companies taking part in our research, this is a unique opportunity to exchange visions and experiences on a relevant yet under-researched managerial topic,” said initiative leader Christian Combes. “Participants will also be invited to an exclusive executive event in March 2011 that will cover both the qualitative and quantitative results of the CFO-CIO relationship.”


About the Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School

The Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School has deep academic roots. Founded in 1953 by Professor Baron André Vlerick, the School has evolved into the leading business school in Belgium and one of the top business schools in Europe. The School benefits from the amassed knowledge of the two largest Belgian universities, Ghent University and the Catholic University of Leuven.

The Vlerick Leuven Ghent Management School focuses on management education and research in order to meet the needs of managers and entrepreneurs at different stages in their careers. The School offers an International MBA programme and numerous training programmes for company executives. Close connections with the international corporate world lead to practice-based research in co-operation with numerous companies and organisations. Thousands of Vlerick graduates are successfully operating at top management levels in manufacturing, services, consultancy, and the public sector in over 100 countries.