IBM SVP: Transformation of CMO, CFO roles underway thanks to big data

Summary:IBM's SVP of Software Solutions admits that big data is the "most overused buzzword," but he argues that's overshadowing more important shifts emerging.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Big data is the driving force behind the changing roles for C-level execs, according to Mike Rhodin, senior vice president of software solutions at IBM.

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Speaking at the 2013 Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference on Tuesday morning, Rhodin admitted that big data is the "most overused buzzword" in IT right now.

But he tried to convey that while this term is being tossed about haphazardly, we could be missing the more important underlying trends and shifts underway thanks to big data and analytics.

"Big data is a very large space, which is why you see so many people talking about it," Rhodin said. "But if you don't have the whole story, it's not just about the data. It's what you do with the data."

Describing that "all of that data is like a tsunami of information," Rhodin said what is going on now -- at least on the surface level -- is governments and corporations trying to figure out how to make sense of it all.

On a business level, that requires a number of changes -- especially in the way different lines of services and employees work together.

"Big data is a very large space, which is why you see so many people talking about it," Rhodin said. "But if you don't have the whole story, it's not just about the data. It's what you do with the data."

Rhodin highlighted that the role of information technology, in particular, is switching, commenting that it used to be primarily focused on operational efficiency and back office operations.

Now, he continued, the role of IT is much more engrained in operations all over an enterprise.

Rhodin suggested a few changes at the top taking place, honing in on the chief marketing officer and the chief financial officer.

For CFOs, Rhodin suggested that analytics are being put to use to address risks to supply chain, go-to-market strategies, and for subject matter expertise.

Posting that a "transformation of a professional is underway," Rhodin said bluntly that CMOs have large opportunities going forward, usually "because CMOs tend to have a lot of money."

Rhodin continued that what CMOs do with their investments is starting to change, recalling that "traditional marketing" was more about advertising and segmentation.

With analytics, the ability to capture consumer profiles is much more tangible. That, in turn, requires a "mutual relationship" between CMOs and CIOs, according to Rhodin.

Rhodin explained that CIOs always need to be involved because they will have to deal with problems that arise "one way or another," whether they be about the user experience, security, or recovery.

Topics: CXO, Big Data, Enterprise Software, IBM, Tech Industry

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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