CIO Vs. CMO: Can't We All Just Get Along? - InformationWeek

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10/29/2014
09:06 AM
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CIO Vs. CMO: Can't We All Just Get Along?

PwC chief technologist Chris Curran discusses how to turn infighting between IT and marketing into a productive partnership.

The CIO-CMO relationship is among the weakest in the C-suite, according to the PwC's Digital IQ survey. So how do we get these teams on the same digital page? PwC chief technologist Chris Curran says most CIOs want to take on more of a customer-facing role but might not have the expertise or corporate mandate to do so. In the meantime, CMOs have taken on more tech responsibilities, mostly because they perceive IT as too slow or lacking the requisite digital and user experience skills, Curran says.

"In the end, once you peel back the rhetoric, and you look at what the work is, I don't think marketing wants to do all the IT work, and I don't think IT wants to do all the marketing work," he says. "It's about figuring out, 'Can we add the two together and make something more productive?'"

Click on the video for Curran's take on the IT-marketing dynamic, recorded at the recent InformationWeek IT Leadership Summit at Interop New York.

Rob Preston currently serves as VP and editor in chief of InformationWeek, where he oversees the editorial content and direction of its various website, digital magazine, Webcast, live and virtual event, and other products. Rob has 25 years of experience in high-tech ... View Full Bio

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SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
11/3/2014 | 7:16:59 AM
Re: We should all get along
I don't think that it's just a matter of numbers and concrete details vs abstract thinking.  I think a lot of it is been there done that and understanding what a technology does rather than what someone hopes it might do.  I don't have anything against marketing in general, we need them to get the word out but all too often they see a technology and try to add things to it that just don't exist.  This is mainly because they don't understand what it does they just know what they want it to do.  Then they get frustrated when it doesn't do what they want and IT is called in to clean up the mess.  One of my favorite marketing stories is from years and years ago.  Our marketing manager came running into my office to tell me that a web site had been hacked and that I needed to do something about it.  I asked which one of our sites it was and he explained to me that it was someone else's site.  I told him I would notify them and all he had to do was tell me what site it was. I typed in the URL for the site and there was nothing wrong with the site, he stood there adamantly telling me that it was hacked and I needed to come to his office to see.  So I followed him to his office and sure enough the site looked much different on his PC, two seconds of inspection revealed that he misspelled the URL and landed on a parody site.  I pointed out his spelling error and was met with "don't tell me I'm wrong, I write for a living". 
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
11/3/2014 | 4:46:03 AM
Re: We should all get along
It's very true. The internal debating between CIO and CMO tells a common truth - the business side and technology side have conflict. It's like the situation in many internet companies. The project management team want to launch new stuff but engineering team need a lot of effort in evaluating new technologies then doing necessary design/implementation. Indeed we should all get along but there is always conflicts. If we handle conflict well, it can turn to a cooperation opportunity.
tzubair
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tzubair,
User Rank: Ninja
10/31/2014 | 5:28:13 PM
Re: We should all get along
@SaneIT: Could the lack of synergies be due to the fact that both marketing and IT people come from significantly different backgrounds and it may be safe to say that they have a different mindset as well? IT people are prone to dig into numbers and other concrete details whereas marketeers tend to have a more abstract thinking pattern. This is something I myself have observed.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
10/30/2014 | 9:03:43 AM
Re: We should all get along
I think that the two most definitely can learn from each other, but I'm also seeing some issues from the IT side.  When I hear that marketing thinks IT moves too slowly I find that they don't often ask themselves why IT takes the time to fully assess a technology.  Many of us who are in leadership positions right now lived through the Internet bubble where flying by the seat of your pants just to get ahead of the competition was common.  Many of us saw what happens when you rush a solution and we also understand who is going to be left to fix any problems when that solution is broken or incomplete.  I see a lot of cool ideas coming from marketing but I also hear a lot of drowning marketing people crying for help when they get in too deep.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2014 | 10:20:40 PM
Re: The Stark Reality of the Corporate Ladder

I like Mr.Curran's thoughts on how IT can once again prove their value to the company - demos and prototypes.   Time and resource permitting these are possible options.

The larger issue is that most companies do not either hired the appropriate IT skill set or they haven't really looked at the resumes of the employees they already have employed.    This excuse ( that I have heard often ) is that IT is ill - equipped for some business tasks like Analytics for instance.  

Well some are and the worst part about it is that most companies don't even know what they already have in-house.

Marketing is not rocket science, no matter how many times Marketeers would like to pretend it is.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2014 | 10:06:22 PM
The Stark Reality of the Corporate Ladder

CIO Vs. CMO: Can't We All Just Get Along?

 

Answer: No.
tekedge
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tekedge,
User Rank: Moderator
10/29/2014 | 7:41:19 PM
We should all get along
Yeah I agree but I think both jobs need the knowhow from the other to be successful ,  where does one stop and the other start, that is the moot question. So really a discussion among both parties is the best solution and working to get the job done. ! But is it possible ! It is actually clash of the big ego titans...
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2014 | 5:09:14 PM
Re: Can't We All Just Get Along?
It seems this is an issue that's not going away any time soon, so it's worthwhile that we all sit down and have a frank discussion on what to do about it. As Mr. Curran says, it's not necessarily about malice on anyone's part (what's that old expression... 'never attribute to malice that which can be more easily explained by laziness or stupidity'?), but just about a lot of old ideas clashing against new ones and miscommunication. You need to take a step back and decide what's a natural progression of things vs. what's unhealthy for the company.

Really, it depends on your organization - what steps you need to take depend largely on what it is you're trying to change. Mr. Curran brings up the CDO - if your company already has one, then you're going to have to make some compromises. You can't recoup all that clout, and maybe you don't have to (or shouldn't want to). Maybe there are some jobs left to other departments than IT. Then again, if there's a security or similar issue, IT still has a claim to that that ought to be respected. The point about demos rings true - whether it's a demo or not, go to the other C-officers first. Don't wait for it to become a problem.
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