CMO And CIO Will Lead to Digital Transformation, Together


To transform advanced technologies into ‘big’ growth and profits, IT and marketing will be required to change the way they work- and most importantly, how they work in tandem.

Recently, a global organization decided to do what most of the firms are doing today- figure out how to derive valuable insights from big data. It put together a request for proposals and a preliminary budget asking vendors to identify opportunities by harnessing data the company had.

Vendors, not surprisingly were excited with what was basically a free pass to gather and analyze almost everything. One month later, the bids started coming in 200 percent past budget. The clear solution was to limit the scope – But everyone in the organization was clueless about what to keep and what to cut because the Chief Information Officer (CIO) hadn’t checked the request for bids or intervened to avoid the inevitable ‘higher than budget’ bids, and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) hadn’t precisely defined the most essential data requirements.

Different versions of same big data storyline are currently playing out in most executive offices across the globe, with CIOs and CMOs in the thick of the action. CMOs, accountable for boosting growth, need the help of the CIOs to turn the customer data deluge into increased revenue. On the other hand, CIOs, responsible for turning advanced technology into big profits, need the support of CMOs to deliver better technical and functional requirements for latest big data analytics initiatives.

The situation portrays a major truth of big data-driven scenario- both CIOs and CMOs are obliged to transform data into development- together. With digital business and customer experience among top business necessities today, most organizations are ratcheting up advanced technology investments to implement latest marketing strategies. In a recent survey by Computerworld on IT priorities, 15 percent of the respondents cited customer experience/ satisfaction as a major objective. Moreover, 12 percent identified digital marketing technology as a new and primary area of spending.

There’s no denying that both CIOs and CMOs recognize the urgency of joint strategic plan and alignment- yet there persists a disconnect in how each of them views their contribution- If a Forrester research report released in 2014 on CIO-CMO collaboration has to be believed.

The CMOs, today need to gain expertise in not just the art of creativity and strategy but also the algorithms and science of analytics to capture revenue opportunities by identifying them. In practice, they should be passionate about figures, facts, and measurements. Most importantly, with the potential of discerning the business opportunities that big data analytics offer, they must define their vision precisely from the outset of data analysis to the tracking of revenue impact.

However, the CIOs in the era of big data analytics are responsible for leveraging technical infrastructure to accelerate the growth of revenue- CIOs should be able to provide feasible analytics requirements based on use cases. That comprises articulating options and trade-offs by measures such as time, priorities and cost.

These 5 prerequisites can make the partnership of CIOs and CMOs work-

  • An effective and clear decision-governance framework
  • Right and strong teams
  • Transparent process
  • Marketing and IT translators
  • Learn driving before you decide to fly

Big data analytics and advanced technology are already busy segregating winners from a lot of losers- and the CIO and the CMO both share responsibility for the results. Building up a winning relationship between IT and marketing is not simple, but with the right mix of technique and strategies- it is definitely not impossible.