The business value of CIO and CMO partnerships


The business value of CIO and CMO partnerships

Center for CIO Leadership Executive Director Harvey Koeppel was the featured speaker at the April 11 SearchCIO360 dinner and networking event in New York. He took some time out to discuss with CIO/IT Strategy Media Group Editorial Director Scot Petersen some ways to reimagine or reinvent CIO and chief marketing officer (CMO) partnerships. An excerpt of their conversation follows. For the complete conversation, please download the podcast.

Petersen: What was the thesis for the night's discussion?

Koeppel: Where we started was a general consensus around the room that there really are some interesting gaps in the relationships today between marketing teams, led by the CMO, and IT teams, led by the CIO. In many cases, it feels as if these different groups are actually speaking different languages -- and frankly, in many cases they probably are.

We see this as an opportunity for CIOs to act as someone who is at the table helping to develop the business strategy, as compared to being handed the strategy.

Some of these disconnects or gaps have historically led to the proliferation of different technologies across the enterprise, most often managed by CIOs and their IT staffs. Very commonly, many marketing departments, for lots of reasons, have developed their own IT capabilities, and have relied on internal and external resources, service providers, and consultants to support their efforts around data analysis, segmentation, campaign management and so forth.

It's clear to everyone that, given the tremendous proliferation of things like social media and mobile technologies, where so much more customer information is available, there is now a tremendous business opportunity for CMOs and CIOs to come together.

Perhaps they could learn each other's language; certainly they could be looking at common objectives and really leveraging so much more data that's available across the enterprise, in support of many of the traditional marketing and sales activities of the business.

Did you find a lot of agreement on that thesis?

Everyone in the room was pretty well aligned with the thesis as we've described it. Where there was some really lively conversation was around what do we do about it next? How do we really begin to bridge the gaps that exist?

Beyond discussing marketing-speak and IT-speak, we tried to focus on how this is about a reimagining of the business as a whole.

Yes. There was a lot of great discussion around the need for this kind of communication and agreement around business objectives and anticipated outcomes across the C-suite.

What is the next frontier for CIOs to advance their career and their profession?

There's this tremendous opportunity for CIO and CMO partnerships to be reimagined or reinvented. We definitely see an opportunity around many of the newer technologies -- things like cloud computing or data analytics or mobility. These technologies are really changing the landscape of how companies are doing business and are still in many cases at an emerging state.

And we believe that CIOs have an enormous opportunity to understand these technologies, both from a technology perspective, but probably more importantly from a business perspective -- how these kinds of technologies can be used to help their enterprise both formulate a better business strategy, as well as then implement against those strategies.

We see this as an opportunity for CIOs to raise the bar, to really step up into enterprise leadership roles, which is very different from managing the IT department; to be perceived and to act as an enterprise leader, as someone who is at the table helping to develop the business strategy, as compared to being handed the strategy for implementation.

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Harvey Koeppel discusses the gaps in the CIO-CMO relationship

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Let us know what you think about the story; email Scot Petersen, Editorial Director.

This was first published in April 2012