Guest Post by Ted Shelton
On a recent evening in Silicon Valley, PwC hosted the well-known author Geoffrey Moore and 15 CIOs and CMOs from some of the leading Bay Area global technology firms. Over dinner Geoffrey led a spirited conversation on the new challenges that CIOs and CMOs are facing – rapid expansion of digital tools and techniques as a part of marketing activities; blending of marketing with other functional areas such as customer service and product development; and resulting demands from the marketing organization on enterprise IT. Where once marketing was the smallest internal customer for IT services, in the next decade many predict that it will become the largest.
Geoff started the evening by framing the challenge through a historical perspective. For most enterprises, the role of the CIO has been to establish and manage the organization’s “systems of record” – those information services that form the backbone of business operations. Inventory management, financial systems, manufacturing and planning, human resources… the imperative for these systems is that they are secure, reliable, and cost-effectively maintained. Thus the CIO’s job has been focused on planning, efficiency, reliability, and security. These are the value embedded deeply in the people and processes of a typical enterprise IT organization – the “DNA” of IT.
On the other end of the spectrum, charged with moving quickly and creatively while marshaling external service providers and communication channels, the CMO has little time or patience for a slow and deliberate approach. As technology has become increasingly important component for the CMO the natural impulse has been to source solutions externally. Powered by the broad trend toward consumerization of IT, marketing departments have been rapidly growing their digital operating footprint without engaging IT organization, by purchasing cloud services with corporate credit cards or engaging agencies to build digital destinations. Where the CIO has been focused on developing systems of record for the enterprise, the new digital CMO has begun building what Geoffrey Moore has called “systems of engagement” –open, interactive, and adaptable – the DNA of digital marketing.
The challenge, as our roundtable discussed, is that these new digital services can bring a variety of risks to the enterprise, especially as they become part of the critical operations and as the information and processes cross over from marketing to other functional areas. Highlighted areas of concern included the management and protection of intellectual property, stewardship of consumer information, compliance with global regulations, and the need for processes to manage the multiplying number of accounts on public social media channels.
Both CIOs and CMOs in our discussion recognized that the intersection of these risk factors was creating an imperative for a new model of collaboration between marketing and IT organizations. In Geoff’s closing remarks he observed that the path forward will require experiments on both sides and a reminder that the stakes are high. Organizations that adapt to disruption outperform their competitors and so far in the short history of computers and the Internet, the greatest disruption has been the social, mobile and cloud technologies. The impact will be felt in every industry, and as they move forward CIOs and CMOs should be looking at how they build a new partnership that will allow their companies to benefit from both systems of record and the systems of engagement, develop a common roadmap, and together define the future of business.
Image shared by Boston Public Library
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