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Are your Chief Information Officer and Chief Marketing Officer Collaborating?

By Tom Skeen

The fact is the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) need each other for “The Firm” to be successful. However, over the years there are increasing disagreements on strategy, budgets and project timelines, which has created an environment that is less than desirable for the firm and its customers.

Let’s first take a look at a high-level job description for each role. The CIO is a senior leadership role and generally reports to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). They are responsible for the Information Technology strategy, resources, budgets and driving profits through advancing technology for business units. The CIO must closely work with business leaders to understand short and long-term goals while remaining cautions of the risk and security strategy established by the Chief Risk Officer (CRO), a peer that they must also closely work with.

The role of the CMO is also a senior leadership position that reports to the CEO. This person is responsible for the firm’s overall marketing strategy, activities, pricing and customer service. They are highly concentrated on increasing profits for the organization and being agile with market conditions.

In recent years, during a time of increasing cyber attacks, the CMO and CIO have had much more conflict on direction and strategy of IT resources, budgets and timelines. The CIO is mindful of risk and the CMO is mindful of speed to market and advancing systems to include ease-of-use of those systems and applications for employees and customers. “Big Data” has a significant influence on strategy and how to make the most of the massive amount of information that’s available. This is where the disagreements begin to come into play.

Most CIOs want to tightly protect and control information and the CMO wants to make as much data available for analysis so that cross-marketing, speed-to-data access and information can quickly assist in meeting ever-changing market demands and needs.

You can clearly see that collaboration between the CIO, CMO and CRO are essential for the success of any firm. If these three senior level executives are not collaborating, sharing forward-thinking visions and short and long-term goals the firm will realize increased costs, decreased profits and increased risk.

The focus should be on the customer and meeting their needs in the most expeditious manner with the least amount of risk to the firm and not - IT vs. Marketing.

Senior level executives set the tone for all staff within the entire organization and this tone can be collaboration based or individual based. What is your choice?

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