CMO-CIO relationship in Digital world !!


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In Today’s Digital age, every organization is spending lot of efforts to reach out to their customers digitally and enhance their every touch point. Mobile technology, social media, cloud computing, embedded devices, big data, and analytics have radically changed the nature of work and competition.

As mentioned in my previous post “Digital Consumer – A true Superman”, consumer having all the information at his/her fingertips anytime, anywhere with any device, is putting lot of pressures on the organization to be Digital – Here & Now !!
There is a huge debate as to who should lead this digital transformation, CMO or CIO?
In general, CIOs are concerned about technology and costs, while CMOs want to surprise and delight the customer. The two need to come together and understand each other’s world.
Today’s CMOs are expected to leverage disruptive technologies, and thus are receiving more technology funding than their IT counterparts. CMOs understands the real power of digital channels because their marketing department was the lead for most of the online activities that were developed over the last few decades. They own the customer facing touch points of the company which are increasingly becoming digital. They know how to engage customers whenever and wherever they interact with a company, in a store; on the phone; responding to an e-mail, a blog post, or an online review.
The CMO may understand the need for the transformation, but not the risks involved as it pertains to the support and security to do it properly.
On the other hand the CIOs understand technology better than anyone and owns the IT strategy and platforms. On top of that, their responsibilities come with budgets constraints, strict policies and processes, which requires a traditional way of management. This is a challenge to mix with the attitude that is needed for digital transformation.
Hence CMOs and CIOs must work together to deliver this compelling digital transformation to enhance customer experience.
Here are some of the ways both CMO-CIO have/can work together:
  • CMO and CIO should work more closely with each other and are present at the day-to-day campaign creation and ideas generation
  • CIO should ensure that they are minimizing mundane cost-center activities that keeps them behind closed doors and away from the CMO
  • CIOs should ensure there is time to engage and mix with the marketing team.  IT and marketing should occupy the same floor of the building
  • If face to face meetings are not possible then go with internal digital ways of communication like video chats, webex etc.
  • Both should have an agenda to build a strong analytics capabilities to build 360 degree view of their customers, predictive, prescriptive analytics and sentiment analysis for customer insights

Someone has talked about the great iceberg analogy where 10% of an iceberg is above water which is CMO & Marketing team. This is what Customers see from outside. In reality, there is CIO & their team, which is the other 90% of that iceberg holding that 10% above the water, so it can be seen.
At Nationwide, a global insurance company, the CMO and CIO host a dinner for their leaders each quarter with the explicit goal of building friendship and trust within their teams.
Dell vice president/CIO Adriana Karaboutis and Dell senior vice president/CMO Karen Quintos had teamed up with the shared goal of creating a single view of the company’s customers giving them an edge over completion.
Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest Labs brings everyone together, from user-experience people and management people to algorithms people, so that there are people who can speak to every aspect of their product from design and marketing to user experience.
At NetApp, leader in data storage, for healthy CMO-CIO relationship, members of the marketing team and the IT team do regular “tours of duty” on the other side, which helps in understanding technology with marketing.
As the CMO collaborates with the CEO and other senior-team members to strategize a shared approach for designing, building, operating, and renewing customer touch points, he or she will also require CIO’s help to build the digital backbone.
With digital at the top of the agenda for every company, both CMO & CIO have to work together like twin brothers of “The Suite life of Zack and Cody” as one knows the market dynamics of digital savy customers, while other know the digital backbone to fulfill it.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Sandeep Raut
Sandeep Raut is Founder and CEO at Going Digital.He is ranked in top 10 global influencers and thought leaders in Digital Transformation.


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