Strategic CIO // Enterprise Agility
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7/17/2014
09:06 AM
Chris Curran
Chris Curran
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CIO-CMO Relationship: Plagued By Digital Pretenders

Digital strategies that focus only on customer engagement are shallow. But to go deeper, CIOs and CMOs must be partners.

to balance market-facing innovation and customer engagement with longer-term efficiency. He's been trying to create a collaborative working relationship with the marketing leaders, but they are logjammed.

The marketing department has a technology innovation lead, and many of the leaders have a digital marketing background. I suggested that these individuals they try to build a list of the major things they do that overlap marketing and tech -- market data analytics, vendor selection, app innovation and development, etc. -- and then figure out who should do what and why. I recommended that they consider using an upcoming digital campaign as a test case.

As part of this process, companies should review each of the major planned and ongoing initiatives in both marketing and IT's portfolios to find opportunities to get each other's perspectives. Doing so may also reveal some gaps or overlaps that need to be addressed. CIOs and CMOs need to get explicit agreement on who owns the components of digital strategies, the role each leader will take on, and when and how they're expected to work together. 

Defining the roles and responsibilities of marketing and IT is not about either group trying to gain control. It's about involving experts in design, architecture, integration, and information to make the digital products better and more manageable for the short and long term. We need to make sure that the right decision-makers are involved in idea development, designing, planning, estimating, and sourcing.

In our survey we also looked at the skills and knowledge of each group -- IT's understanding of marketing and marketing’s understanding of IT. We found that things are fairly balanced. Nearly two thirds of CMOs (63%) say that their IT department has a very good or excellent understanding of marketing. On the flip side, 60% of CIOs rate marketing as having very good or excellent IT skills. 

The bottom line is that CIOs and CMOs understand each other's function and forge a partnership that will advance the company’s digital agenda. Now they need to sit down and have a meaningful conversation about how they can help each other outshine the real competition: other companies in their industries. When CIOs and CMOs team up, the results can be digital dynamite. 

Our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue -- our 26th ranking of technology innovators -- shines a spotlight on businesses that are succeeding because of their digital strategies. We take a close at look at the top five companies in this year's ranking and the eight winners of our Business Innovation awards, and offer 20 great ideas that you can use in your company. We also provide a ranked list of our Elite 100 innovators. Read our InformationWeek Elite 100 issue today.

Chris Curran is a PwC principal and Chief Technologist for the US firm's Advisory practice, where he is responsible for technology strategy and innovation, and the development of thought leadership reflective of PwC's point of view on technology trends and innovations. ... View Full Bio
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MDMConsult14
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MDMConsult14,
User Rank: Moderator
7/25/2014 | 5:09:57 AM
Re: "Digital" goes far beyond marketing
Strategy with the CIO-CMO relationship are important. With shifts, being able to create experiences together for the customer and having deeper insights of these areas will be required. Also adopting agile development and being able to integrate technologies as part of the roles will pressure more digital adoption between the roles.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
7/23/2014 | 11:33:10 AM
CIO/CMO
Tech company CIOs seem to be making the leap to working as true partners with their CMOs faster than other verticals' CIOs. It is seen as not nice to have, but mandatory, by the tech CIOs I talk to about this topic. On a related note, more tech company CIOs are being taken to customer sales pitches now. The customer CIO wants to hear from the tech company CIO -- directly. They have become ambassadors for the brand. That is a purely external focus.
Jawaz Illavia
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Jawaz Illavia,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/19/2014 | 3:29:42 AM
"Digital" goes far beyond marketing
Digital initiatives often start with the CIO/CMO relationship but care must be taken to ensure that this isn't the ONLY relationship to drive digital initiatives. Digital initatives span all functions and areas and what we're likely to see is a gradual blurring of teams that will need to start looking at digital in a much broader context. I'm seeing this already - but it's happening organically without necessarily a real understanding of what the end picture will look like. Ultimately there won't be "digital" job roles/titles/functions with the term as they become part of the organisation's DNA.
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
7/17/2014 | 10:48:24 AM
Marketing can't dominate
This data is a good antidote to the "CMO will spend more on tech than the CIO" fever that's been spreading the past year. A CMO that takes the attitude that it's a marketing tech budget to do with as she/he sees fit is missing broader opportunities to connect people more broadly in the company. I think this line nails the problem: "CMOs are looking outward toward the customer while most CIOs are looking at internal business operations". They hvaen't seen a natural need to collaborate, it's on the two leaders to wear a new track in the carpet between their offices.      
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