Wednesday, November 05, 2014

On the CMO-CIO disconnect

A study from Accenture exposes a disconnect between the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), with only one in 10 of the executives surveyed being satisfied with the current level of collaboration between CMOs and CIOs.

Key findings of the study, based on a survey of 400 senior marketing and 250 information technology (IT) executives in 10 countries, include:

  • CMOs believe IT doesn’t make the marketing function a priority.
  • More than thirty percent of CMOs believe IT keeps marketing out of the loop and does not make time and technical resources available.
  • Thirty six percent of CMOs say IT deliverables fall short of expectations.
  • Forty six percent of CIOs say marketing does not provide an adequate level of business requirements.
  • Despite CIOs appearing more open to engaging with CMOs, only 45 percent of CIOs say that supporting marketing is near or at the top of their list of priorities.

Accenture argues that this disconnect threatens the ability of companies to deliver effective customer experiences, and suggests some ways for CIOs and CMOs to work more effectively together.

The report contains some interesting hints of cognitive differences between the two functions. Take for example the concept of "requirement". On the one hand, marketing wants IT to respond faster and more flexibly to "market requirements". Whereas IT complains that marketing doesn't provide adequate and stable definition of "business requirements". This indicates a clash between two conflicting notions of what counts as a legitimate requirement, and the Accenture report doesn't explicitly suggest a resolution of this conflict.

There are also interesting differences in the implied value system. The marketing function tends to place higher value on hard-to-quantify business benefits such as "customer insight", whereas the IT function tends to place higher value on hygiene factors such as privacy and security. In both cases, these priorities may be influenced by the way budgets and targets are allocated to each function by the organization as a whole, and the ways in which different kinds of investment and operational expenditure can be legitimately cost-justified. Let us imagine that in a particular organization, the CIO can only justify investing in a new Customer Insight system if she can show that this system will produce measurable improvements in business outcomes. Whereas the CMO can only justify devoting any resources to customer privacy if she can show that security breaches would have a measurable effect on customer satisfaction or corporate reputation. (This may be relatively easy in some sectors, much harder in other sectors.)

There are some prevailing stereotypes of marketing and IT, which would suggest they are on different planets: one function being precise and highly numerate, the other being imprecise and unreliable.  In reality, they are much closer together, and should be able to collaborate closely, if only they can manage to speak the same language.

Source: The CMO-CIO Disconnect, Computer Weekly, August 2013.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Adrian Grigoriu
The CMO-CIO connection gets a lot of attention lately.

Unless the products and services are digital/IT, I see few reasons the CMO should have a special relationship with the CIO.
Yet, if the products and services are digital then IT is important because it is the core delivery technology for new products and features. Hence, in this case, the relationship should be indeed tightened.

In addition, the social engagement technology is not provided by IT today.

Anyway, it's nothing new about the fact that the IT and the business sides of an enterprise are, in general, disconnected.

With advent of the cloud this connection would matter less because many internal and customer services would be provided by the cloud.

Why is this relationship so important now?