CIOs and CMOs see more eye to eye on technology initiatives, sort of

CIOs say marketing leaders lack focus. Chief marketing officers say IT is too slow. But both claim they are working closer with each other on digital projects.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

In recent times, there's been plenty of talk about the shift of IT spending to chief marketing officers (CMOs), especially as they subscribe to cloud-based resources for CRM and other marketing solutions, as well as initiate mobile app development. This is the foundation of the rise of so-called "shadow IT."

Executives-USDA-April 2013-Cropped-2-Photo via US Dept of Agriculture via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: USDA

Increasingly, this kind of work is being coordinated with IT departments.

That's the word from Accenture Interactive, which recently surveyed more than 1,100 senior marketing and IT executives around the globe on their approaches to technology. The survey indicates a "growing collaboration between CMOs and CIOs" – 43 percent of marketers and 50 percent of IT leaders think their relationship with the other has improved over the past year.

More than half (54 percent) of CMOs and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of CIOs report they are prepared to pursue digital marketing opportunities, but 44 percent of both groups say they it's been difficult to boost marketing results so far. In addition, more than four out of 10 (42 percent) of all executives agree that technology is siloed and too cumbersome, which makes it difficult for them to craft cross-channel experiences for their customers — an increase of eight percentage points from last year.

While there's still a lot of ground to be covered, there is progress nonetheless. At this point, about one-quarter (23 percent) of respondents believe collaboration between IT and marketing is currently at the right level. It sounds low, but this is up from 10 percent in last year’s survey.

The survey report indicates challenges still remain in bringing IT and marketing departments closer. For example, 40 percent of CMOs believe their company’s IT team "does not understand the urgency of integrating new data sources into campaigns to address market conditions" – an increase of six percentage points from last year’s survey, Accenture observes. Additionally, 43 percent of CMOs now say that "the technology development process is too slow for the speed required for digital marketing," compared to 36 percent who held that view a year ago.

For their part, many CIOs question marketing's ultimate vision for achieving a digital enterprise. One out of four CIOs (25 percent) say their marketing counterparts "lack the vision to anticipate new digital channels," up from  11 percent who expressed that view last year. CIOs also say that marketing leaders keep shifting their requirements — more than four out of 10 (43 percent) of IT executives said that marketing requirements and priorities change too often for them to keep up, an increase of three percentage points from last year’s survey.

More and more, top executives in IT and marketing are seeking employees who are cross-trained in marketing and IT. Specifically, they are looking for people with marketing knowledge in IT (43 percent); customer experience skills (42 percent); broad business understanding (42 percent); and customer insight skills (40 percent).

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