CMO v CIO, with IT in the middle

CMO v CIO, with IT in the middle

A couple of documents that came my way this week seem to foreshadow some pretty seismic shifts in the way IT resources are procured and managed in large organisations.

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Shadow IT is now a well-established — and probably an unwelcome — phenomenon in most organisations. However, the signs are that business leaders outside of IT are increasingly making larger and more significant IT purchasing decisions, and none more so than the chief marketing officer.

Research firm Telsyte reported this week: “Marketing leaders in Australia and New Zealand are increasingly making technology decisions for their organisations.”

Telsyte surveyed 255 CMOs and marketing leaders in large organisations and found that 91 percent were making purchasing decisions on technology products and services to meet their requirements.

“[This] has traditionally been the sole responsibility of the IT department,” Telsyte said. “Furthermore, more than half of organisations surveyed indicated that the marketing department has a dedicated IT budget.”

By and large CMOs are happy to be buying IT. Their CIOs are not. In a separate Telsyte survey of 336 CIO and ICT leaders 36 percent said their organisations had experienced problems with integration (cited by 36 percent), inconsistent technology selection (33 percent), and security (32 percent).

What’s very clear from another survey is that the genie is well and truly out of the bottle and is not going back.

My other document this week came from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU): The Rise of the Marketer — How Australian & New Zealand marketing executives view the future.

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The results of a survey, it sought to uncover the outlooks of 92 marketing executives from ANZ — 62 from Australia and 30 from New Zealand.

After reporting their responses to a series of questions, the EIU concluded: “There will … be a hard shift away from advertising and branding as marketing responsibilities. Direct customer acquisition, engagement and retention will gain ascendancy as marketers’ primary concerns as they increasingly assume responsibility for the end-to-end customer experience from the sales and customer service functions.

“ANZ marketers believe that they will be called upon to carry a heavier load as more and more organisations look to them as a revenue driver, and [they believe] that customer acquisition is going to present a significant and ongoing challenge. They believe that social marketing, mobile transactions and the Internet of Things will be the technologies most central to shaping the future of the function.

“And they believe that they can look forward to substantial investment in the tools they will need to meet — and surpass — those heightened expectations.”

And what will those tools be? IT, IT and more IT.

In any organisation those with control and power rarely cede it willingly, but if the EIU has accurately assessed the organisational zeitgeist in ANZ, it’s pretty clear that any CIO trying to stymie their CMO’s IT ambitions will be fighting a losing battle. Far better to accept the inevitable and work to minimise the integration, consistency and security problems.

 

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