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Bridging the CIO / CMO Divide

Business in the digital world requires that CIO’s and CMO’s work closer than ever before to deliver a better…. experience to the customer. Today, technology is changing the role of the CMO and digital consumers are changing the role of the CIO. In my experience as a CIO I’ve seen first-hand the intersection these two roles have and the need for better coordination, collaboration and communication among them. Organizations that leverage, innovate and integrate these dynamic and changing functions will undoubtedly lead the pack in the digital era.

“Winning in the age of the digital consumer and the ‘mobile moment’ requires the CIO and the CMO to work together,” says Forrester CEO, George Colony.

With companies no longer reaching customers solely through traditional channels, the move to the new digital footprint has been transformational, and with it, a large shift in the standard roles of the CIO and CMO.

Technology Spending Shifts

According to a recent Digital IQ survey by PwC, 35 to 50 percent of technology spending is outside of the CIO’s budget. “CIOs have no choice but to shift from one who controls technology spending to a catalyst who sparks action,” says PwC chief technologist, Chris Curran.

Two decades ago, the technology leader’s role was primarily involved with Management of Information Systems (MIS) — working with mainframes and databases to support operations. Fast forward to the last decade and technology leaders have continued to maintain responsibility for technology purchases and implementation, including data center management, application support, security and infrastructure, with some of this capability being outsourced however, overall technology spending is now a combined effort.

The Role of CMO in Technology

In parallel, the CMO has been focused on marketing to the customer – both traditionally and in recent years, digitally. Customers are now far more connected than ever before. For example, according to Inc., by 2023 there will be eight billion digital voice assistants used. Imagine the opportunity for voice search that presents. Customers also have more purchasing options and want things in a much more personalized manner. In fact, according to a survey of 1,000 people published in Forbes, 90% of people remarked they found personalization appealing.

The disruption happening in this space and CMO’s are responding – from mobile and social to cloud-based tools and technologies.. With insufficient knowledge around purchasing and implementing the right systems that drive all things digital, CMOs may feel overwhelmed when making these technology decisions. As a result, many companies are failing to seize important digital marketing moments and provide a superior customer experience.

The consequence has been a huge disconnect internally and missed opportunities to properly engage, serve and manage the customer experience. How can businesses leverage technology to create a superior customer engagement strategy? Moving forward, the key will be to put the CIO/CMO turf wars aside and begin transitioning the thinking from a silo-approach to a more collaborative approach — an approach that seeks to solve the problems collectively, irrespective of who is writing the check, the story or the strategy to enable the digital roadmap.


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