“Globally, the role of the CFO is becoming much more strategic within the organization at this time of rapid business change and pressure. This creates greater information needs for most CFOs,” Gallant said.
IDG first started to use the CFOworld brand in Germany with CFOworld.de, which debuted in 2009. The company subsequently expanded with CFOworld websites in four additional European countries. Each site operates independently. “In true IDG fashion, the way we serve that audience is tailored to the local market,” Gallant said.
CFOworld.com is powered by the Drupal 6 open-source content management system. “It's a lightweight, easy-to-use platform that we will be able to modify in the future,” Gallant said.
Initially, the website is focused on presenting a large number of stories in a format that users can digest quickly. “One of the things we found in talking to CFOs is that they are enormously busy,” he said.
Under the direction of Roy Harris, editorial director, CFOworld.com will bring together original content, financial industry blogs, social content and relevant stories aggregated from within IDG and around the Web, including services such as Bloomberg News. “The idea is to provide a rich portfolio of content in a fast-moving stream,” Gallant said.
The home page reflects this goal, with two-thirds of the page devoted to a list of headlines followed by brief one- or two-sentence summaries. To help users decide which stories to read, IDG's developers created a Quick Read feature that launches a box containing the first two paragraphs of the story. The user can then close the box and stay on the home page or click through to read the rest of the article.
“The is particularly useful when we bring in aggregated content because people can get a quick snapshot without having to jump off the page,” Gallant said.
Commenting is one feature that will soon be added to articles. “We wanted to get a critical mass of content first,” he said. “We will also be developing other ways the CFOs can communicate with one another and share information.”
CFOworld plans to add more images and video content. “We're using a lot more images across all our sites,” Gallant said. “IDG News Service has an image library, and we have a contract with Reuters for images. You're starting to see much more video as well. Each of the sites will be rolling out a YouTube channel.”
From a strategic viewpoint, CFOworld marks an expansion of IDG Enterprise beyond its core IT vertical. “The idea is to cover all the critical issues CFOs are facing,” Gallant said. The site is organized into five areas—strategic finance, human capital, operations, accounting and technology.
The company previously moved in this direction in the U.S. with CMO magazine, which debuted in 2004 and closed less than two years later. The difference between CMO and CFOworld, however, is that the latter does not include the expensive print distribution model, Gallant said, adding that IDG might expand with additional websites targeting C-suite titles. “We have a strong foothold in the C-suite already with our CIO and CSO brands,” he said.