Browse by year:
A Match Made in Heaven CIOs, CMOs & the New Tech Paradigm
Raghu Raghavan
CEO-Act-On Softaware
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Fifteen, even ten years back, there wasn't much to hope for by way of an executive consensus when it came to purchasing technology for a company. This was the sort of decision only the back office could make the folks in IT, charged with making all decisions as to the technologies that would be brought into the business. Enterprise software was an altogether different beast in this era and CIOs wielded as a result a unique power in the enterprise. Their roles were numerous: controller, financier, installer, integrator, and watchman.

Then came cloud computing, and with it, an entirely new way forward.
Overnight, the rules of old had been upended: the line of business had the ability to access and invest in technology on their own, without IT's sign-off, and could deploy these solutions based on performance and effectiveness, versus company mandate. Technology was aligned with the department. CIOs were at the periphery.

With this turn of the page, CMOs took on new prominence.
Marketing, by this point, had moved well past its air cover origins, when it was limited to qualitative impressions made by billboards, print ads, and radio spots; it had become a quantitative discipline driven by data, catering to the digital channels used by marketers and where today's buyers do their research. Because of this, decision making and spending priorities shifted CMOs now had unique technology needs of their own.

Which brings to us to the crossroads we face today.
According to Gartner, 23 percent of an average capital budget is now allocated for specialized software purchases, like marketing automation and analytics. There's definite proof that marketing and IT overlap in vital, substantial ways. It's just a matter of deciding what to make of that proof, whether to proceed the way we would ten or fifteen years back, as if IT and marketing have little in common, or to embrace the partnership that has been made possible, and actively encourage collaboration.

This new partnership promises sizable benefits. Frequent communication between CIOs and CMOs is bound to focus and clarify a company's larger corporate vision and overall spend, aligning tech investments with core, strategic initiatives, and tying tech spend more directly to revenue, for larger returns in the long run. More crucially, this partnership is incredibly manageable, demanding little by way of a broader re-org. Leaders of IT and marketing teams might collaborate on mindshare. They could sit in on each other's departmental huddles, to contribute and provide feedback, and maybe even agree upon a shared set of KPIs revenue, usage, retention. They could collaborate in their hires, to ensure that future team members are equally fluent in IT and tech.

But most of all, this partnership carries a business imperative. We CEOs are answerable to the performance of the business we oversee. We are obligated not just to support, but to also act on, the strategies that drive the company forward, expand our customer base, and retain market share. If faced with an arrangement conducive to these aims, it's our responsibility to pursue that arrangement to the fullest.

A dialogue between CMOs and CIOs isn't just healthy from personnel standpoint; it's just good business sense. And CEOs can sow the seeds early on, as the leadership famously did at Regal Cinemas via a simple suggestion, made just once, that a CMO stop by a CIO's office to get acquainted.

Share on LinkedIn