More than conflict, collaboration and joint efforts become the order of the day.
Marketing is emerging as key drivers of IT spending in digital technologies. Is there conflict up ahead? What is your IT organization doing to keep from being marginalized on cutting edge marketing technology decisions and strategies? Is IT competing with marketing for technology talent? IT vs. Marketing: Partnership or Competition?
1. Agility is the Key
Traditional IT values, such as standardization etc.., do not sit easily with the marketing requirement to be agile in order to leverage new initiatives. The trend of IT consumerization brings this to all enterprises, not just those with a strong marketing organization.
- Agility Factor: It's the age-old story of to what extent IT has a deep understanding of business processes especially as they relate to marketing technology and even more, analytics. Some IT organizations are "dysfunctional" in that their traditional functions and roles don't map with many of the 21st centuries go-to-market realities. Virtually many CIO has described their major weakness being "agility" as it pertains to cutting edge marketing technology
- Leverage IT in business strategy/process: Look at CxO in general; the business model for an organization is what drives the focus for each of these C-level positions. Whether the focus is finance or marketing or anything else, almost all business models today leverage information & technology in its business strategy/processes. In most cases, the CIO primary focus is to enable and support the C-level team strategy & goals while managing things like technical change, complexity, and compliance.
- CIO and CMO are “soul mates”: While companies do more than talk about business integration, there's the realization that fortunate companies have tech-savvy CMOs or marketing-savvy CIOs. And at the high-mature companies, CIO and CMO could be ‘soul mates’, it's hard to spot the strategic difference between the CMO and CIO, but each of them has his/her own T-shape focus.
2. IT Attitude
If the Marketing team is going 'around' IT too often, ask yourself "why" and then go chat with the CMO and ask them why.
- Layout the Process for communication and collecting ideas: Although IT needn’t control everything that is technology-related in order for it to be beneficial or well-managed, have a process for collecting ideas and starting relationships with vendors, and then be available when Marketing desires to move. If you don't connect regularly, Marketing will spin you out of control from a resource standpoint and if you don't help them understand what's already available and how you can respond, you'll end up with no architecture. Sustainability meets flexibility... have a process, work it, communicate, share...
- IT has to be best positioned to satisfy the marketing need. Although marketing typically has the visibility and budget to play the independence card more often than ever. There are many factors, the most coming down to a strategic relationship with business peers, the quality of the corporate governance model, and IT agility, including the real or perceived IT skills required to support the likes of a progressive Marketing initiative. If it works, it’s great. If not, then do what's best for the organization while trying to stay involved and prepare for the next opportunity.
- In-depth understand your executive peers. If CIOs are supposed to understand better than others about the dynamics of information technology, then they will likely be better off recognizing how dynamic and fluid roles can be given to how fast technology changes... and show leadership by being able to vary their relationships with other leaders. The high effective CIOs have the advantage of being on the cutting edge of technology as well as knowing in detail what the other ' C ' level duties and responsibilities are.
3. Marketing Collaboration
Is marketing like the rabbit, while IT is like the tortoise? Does marketing types just see opportunity and new revenue but they tend to be oblivious to anything else? Marketing or IT, who will win the game finally?
- More than conflict, collaboration and joint efforts become the order of the day. Digital marketing needs to be owned by CMO but it cannot be run without the CIO.... For sure it is a AND, not EITHER/OR. As the customer, marketing should, in fact, control what it spends on the resource with IT providing advice, guidance and delivery. Given that marketing should have accountability for the cost/benefit of the asset, it should also have a fair amount of control. Ideally, the CIO is a partner to the CMO, helping to align cost-effective implementation options with the business strategy and governance.
- Co-Solve the Information Jigsaw Puzzles: CMOs want facts and figures –they rarely want to know the provenance of data, lack of interest in whatsoever in the mechanics of data provision, the information life cycle from data storage, data integration to data security and governance. Therefore, the CMO may have the budget to purchase, or they may devolve the budget to the CIO who will know where best to spend it. As CIOs are in a unique position to oversight all information -Big Data, Small Data, customer data, operational data, hot data, archived data, through IT & marketing collaboration, the complete pieces of information puzzle can be solved to capture business insight and deliver high-performance result.
Modern IT and Marketing are both competitors and partners, they should compete with speed, agility, and intelligence; but they are also complimentary business partners, to understand and manage data, capture customer insight, work collaboratively in driving business digitalization and shaping the customer-centric organization.