The uncomfortable CIO : CMO relationship


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The uncomfortable  relationship between CIOs and CMOs has been much written about.  I came across the issue again yesterday at a Future Foundation brainstorming workshop.

The issue?
Gartner have stated that the CMO will have a larger IT budget than the CIO by 2017 but Accenture research indicates that CMOs don’t feel qualified to make the decisions that are required.  They also say that only 1 in 10 CIOs feel there is sufficient collaboration with CMOs.  Our conversations with CMOs and CIOs  through our SCHEMA®  and Customer Horizon’s benchmarking groups and through direct client projects, show that CIOs are concerned that CMOs have no idea how to scale IT across business units and markets, do not appreciate data security and privacy issues and do not understand the total cost of ownership of IT platforms (and why would they?).  All they want is to get the application and its database up and running quickly to bring in the money.  CMOs tell us that CIOs are not only slow in delivery, but end up owning the show and dictating to the business the platforms, application and processes that should be used and are killing commercial agility, speed of development and usability of the platforms they provide.  Kids arguing in the background fighting for power?  No, a real issue borne from fast changing marketing and IT environments.

The way forward?
A joint agenda where CIOs and CMOs agree the business objectives and their distinct roles in delivering them, and the way they and their teams will partner with each other.  In doing this they will recognise that accountabilities have to change with the CMO and brand managers taking responsibility for aspects of system security and data privacy and CIOs taking responsibility for user experience of the systems and processes deployed.  Also working practices need to change, with a little more planning and coordination of IT requirements from marketing and an accelerated selection and development process from IT.  Trust is key in all of this of course and must be built up through joined-up agendas and a mature view about their joint responsibilities to the business as a whole.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Neil Woodcock
Neil is Chairman and CEO of The Customer Framework Ltd. and visiting Professor at Henley Business School. An honours graduate, he worked in B2B sales & marketing with Mobil Oil, B2C marketing with Unilever and consultancy services with Andersen Consulting & McKinsey. Neil has written 5 books on customer management, is on the editorial board of leading journals and is an Honorary Fellow of the IDM.


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