CIOs Go To Market
By Tim Moran As a savvy and successful CIO, it will come as no surprise to you that your role--and the role of IT as part of the business--has been undergoing tremendous change of late. In the past, technical expertise and the ability to build and manage custom technology infrastructures were keys to your job. Client-server technologies, as well as the advent of the Internet as a real business tool, changed all that, and the 21st century CIO has become much more involved with business strategy, investment, and growth. IT, as led by today's CIO, is now closely--and clearly--connected to the business.
This, of course, has a number of ramifications, not the least of which is that you now have to learn to play well with others at C-level, others with whom you might never had to play with before--for instance, the CMO. According to a recent CIO Insight feature titled, "Chief Marketing Officers Need IT Now More Than Ever,": "When you think about who you need to interact with most in the C-suite, we're betting your chief marketing officer rarely comes to mind."
Author Don Reisinger points to a recent survey, conducted by Pitney Bowes, indicating that "the boundaries between the CIO and the CMO might be beginning to blur, as reliance on marketing tools such as social media and mobile solutions continues to grow. Your expertise in these and other technology growth areas will be needed more than ever by your marketing team."
Understandable. But what does this really mean to you? How are you to interact and relate to this, probably, alien C-level compatriot? Not to worry. Articles and insights about this nascent relationship abound. For instance, just about a year ago, Frost & Sullivan consultant Jake Wengroff wrote "CMO and CIO: Art Plus Science Equals Success," in which he states that "Clearly, both functions can and should create a more symbiotic relationship. After all, they're both cost centers, vying for a piece of the pie--and credibility--within the organization. CMOs and CIOs both want to be considered a 'need-to-have' rather than a 'nice-to-have.'"
Josh James, one of the founders and former CEO of Omniture (now an Adobe business unit), said in his final keynote to that company's annual Summit: "This will be the decade of the CMO. While the recent past has seen the CIO and CFO become more strategic, the strategic role of the CMO is unquestionably accelerating."
The question for the CIO is: Will you and yours be there to help the CMO along--which will ultimately help the business? And thereby hangs this tale. What's your relationship like with your organization's CMO? Tell us how (or even if) you're working together, and what you'd like to see change in your relationship to make you both succeed.