CIO-CMO Relationship: New BFFs?

There’s been much discussion about “the rise of the Chief Marketing Officer” when it comes to IT spending.
The articles below tend to downplay any sense of tension or power-play and instead focus on how successful leaders are forging ahead.
Can’t we all just get along? Yes!
Summary articles by David Weldon in FierceCIO; original by Nadia Cameron in CMO.
Emphasis in red added by me.
Brian Wood, VP Marketing

Strained CIO-CMO relationships see ‘Digital IQs’ differently

A strong CIO and CMO relationship is a key factor in successful digital transformation efforts, but only half of organizations with both CIO and CMO roles say they have such a strong relationship.
That is the finding of new research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), in its 6th Annual Digital IQ Survey. The research firm shared findings from the report with FierceCIO. Specifically, the research found that there are five critical factors to maximizing digital technology investments. Seventy percent (70%) of top performing organizations count a strong CIO/CMO relationship among those factors.
“Yet overall, the CIO’s relationship with the CMO was rated among the lowest in the entire C-Suite, with only 51 percent reporting it as strong,” the research report noted.
For many companies, digital today is almost exclusively about customer engagement. Yet all too often these are siloed efforts–some led by IT, other by marketing–that may be disconnected from one another and the business’s operations,” the report says. “Both groups are feeling the pressure to deliver on digital and that’s often how misunderstandings and missteps creep in.”
The report stresses the need for CIOs and CMOs to join forces “in order to propel the business forward and use digital technology to reach the always-on state that customers, employees, and business partners demand.”
Part of the relationship problem may be due to the differences in opinion about how strong a “Digital IQ” an organization has, depending on whether you are the CIO or the CMO. The research found that 66 percent of CIOs say their organization has a strong Digital IQ, versus 51 percent of CMOs.
The research found several other areas where the CIO and the CMO differed on their view of how successfully strategic digital roadmaps are understood and communicated.

  • While 40 percent of CIOs say they have an explicit process to define the information technologies required to deliver the business strategy, only 22 percent of CMOs agree.
  • While 40 percent of CIOs say the annual planning process effectively links to the strategic roadmap and overall strategy, only 27 percent of CMOs agree.
  • While 31 percent of CIOs believe they have the proper practices in place to fill any skills gaps that exist in the organization, only 22 percent of CMOs concur.

The news does get a bit better on a couple of other points.

  • 39 percent of CIOs say they understand the costs needed to implement the roadmap, compared to 30 percent of CMOs.
  • 34 percent of CIOs say they understand the tangible business benefits and have a realistic plan for measuring them, compared to 27 percent of CMOs.

Finally, PwC U.S. chief technologist Chris Curran offers three steps to help get the CIO and CMO in better sync on digital transformation.
It starts with sharing goals and metrics: “Then get explicit agreement between the CIO and CMO as to who owns each initiative, the role each function will take on, when and how they are expected to work together and how mutual successes will be measured.”
Next, the organization should rethink IT’s role: “Look at how a new IT platform and digital operating model can foster collaboration. This includes redefining the way that digital capabilities are designed to ensure that the right decision-makers and skillsets are engaged in idea development, designing, planning, estimating, and sourcing.”
Finally, review each of the major planned and inflight initiatives. This includes “both marketing’s and IT’s portfolios to look for opportunities to get each other’s perspectives and revise priorities, plans, and involvement. Doing so may also reveal some gaps and overlaps that need to be addressed.”

CIOs told: leave innovation to the CMO

Much has been written lately about the relationship between CIOs and chief marketing officers, and now IT leaders are being told they should leave innovation to the marketing side of the house.
A new study (reg. req.) by CEB–formerly the Corporate Executive Board–finds that marketing, finance and other parts of the business are better positioned to drive digital innovation in their organizations. This comes as bad news to CIOs who were just getting used to the idea that they should be leading the digital transformation of their organization.
Indeed, “Spending on technology outside the IT department is growing rapidly, and is now effectively adding 40 percent to companies’ IT budgets, the study of 100 organizations by the membership advisory group CEB reveals,” according to an article at ComputerWeekly. As a result, CIOs should actively encourage other parts of the business to develop their own innovative digital projects, the article suggests.
“Because technology and digitization are so important, we will see more and more innovative ideas come from other parts of the business,” CEB managing director Andrew Horne was quoted as saying. “The idea that CIOs and chief digital officers will be the source of innovation does not make sense.”
The CEB study advises CIOs to work as coaches and mentors with other business leaders, especially the CMO, who are now spending the largest portion of technology dollars outside of IT. The study also offers five myths about the CIO-CMO relationship:

  • CMOs want to own large-scale IT spend
  • CMOs will soon outspend CIOs on IT
  • The CMO-CIO relationship needs fixing
  • IT should get involved in digital projects before other parts of the business
  • Better risk communication will drive compliance

Meanwhile, speaking at a recent “Meet the Marketers” panel at the Mumbrella360 event in Sydney, Australia, Suncorp executive general manager of marketing Mark Reinke said that marketing and technology are becoming synonymous in his organization.
“This is being driven by the need to personalize, to do this at speed–often less than a second–and to be able to do this [engagement] across hundreds of thousands of transactions,” Reinke is quoted in an article at CMO. “You can’t do that without technology.”
To illustrate how closely IT and marketing are working together, the article continues: “Reinke said he and the Suncorp CIO are jointly recruiting staff, and implemented a graduate program” to develop the technology skills the corporation needs.
“Secondly, we are increasingly adopting the same processes,” the article quoted Reinke. “Our marketing team is now using agile methodology to be more nimble in how we operate, and that provides constant iteration.”

Marketing and IT are becoming synonymous, says Suncorp CMO

CMOs speaking on a panel at this year’s Mumbrella360 event talk about the relationship between CMO and CIO and the importance of creative technologists

Marketing and technology are blurring and the relationship between CMO and CIO is increasingly vital to addressing the modern data and digital customer challenge, leading Australian marketers claim.

Speaking on a ‘Meet the Marketers’ panel at the Mumbrella360 event in Sydney yesterday, Suncorp executive general manager of marketing, Mark Reinke, said marketing and technology are becoming synonymous in his organisation thanks to rising demand for real-time customer engagement.

“This is being driven by the need to personalise, to do this at speed – often less than a second – and to be able to do this [engagement] across hundreds of thousands of interactions,” he said. “You can’t do that without technology.

In my world, it’s the synthesis of three things: Customer insight, data, and the digitisation of experience to solve customer problems.”

As an example of how IT and marketing are working together, Reinke said he and the CIO are jointly recruiting staff, and implemented a graduate program to build the creative technology skills Suncorp needs to better solve customer challenges.

“Secondly, we are increasingly adopting the same processes,” he continued. “Our marketing team is now using agile methodology to be more nimble in how we operate, and that provides constant iteration.

“We also both engage in the same ideation processes; we include marketing, product and technology these teams. Two weeks ago, we had 700 people in five countries for 24 hours to work together to solve customer problems. I don’t know how to do it any other way.”

Westfield director of marketing, John Batistich, agreed creative technologists are vital to the future of marketing. “This is about having people so attuned to technology they can solve customer problems with that,” he said.

Batistich also said his CIO as a critical partner, but stressed the need to set clear responsibilities and areas of focus. He saw CIOs as critical players at the infrastructure and platform level, and marketers owning services and applications alongside their strategic partners.

Where the CIO has a very important role to play is creating the data warehousing, supporting the digital asset management layer, API and content management system layers – all of which enables you to fuel innovation and allow that to be open with outside partners,” Batistich said.

“We have a digital lab in San Francisco manned by a chief digital officer, which gives us access to partners and technologies not available here and enable us to pilot and scale that. That brings more complexity into my business, but it’s a big part of our learning and trajectory.”

At Weight Watchers, there has been growing recognition across senior leadership that legacy and outdated technology systems have hindered its ability to market, tailor services, engage customers and better utilise data, its general manager of marketing, Michael Burgess, said.

The decision to appoint a former IBM senior services executive to lift its technology capabilities is helping foster a huge transformation in the business, he said.

“It’s a stark example of going from one extreme to the other, and the future is looking extremely bright as a result,” Burgess said. “We are working closely together on it.”

Beam Global director of marketing, James Sykes, compared the current debate on whether marketers need to become technologists to former arguments on the role of marketing in product development.

“Today, those folks involved in product innovation know tons about marketing, and that understanding allows marketing and product teams to have fluid conversations,” he said.

“We’re currently in the mucky middle of this conversation [around marketing and IT alignment] and perhaps in five years’ time, we won’t be having this conversation. Maybe that is all this is right now.”