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CMOs: Are You Cheating on Your CIO?

CMOs and CIOs are expected to work hand in hand for the greater good of an organization. Just like any relationship, things do not always go as smoothly as would be desired. Jennifer Beck of Gartner suggests that a feeling of under appreciation may lead many CMOs to “cheat” on their CIOs. New services are making themselves attractive to CMOs, and Beck argues this may lead to a shift in the normal order of things:

Many CMOs are stepping out on their CIOs. Hybrid service providers in the cloud are batting their eyes at these CMOs, the new money trail and motivated buying center for their technology and digital marketing platforms. And those CMOs, feeling ignored and underserved by their IT organizations, are taking the bait. Why not? Very few CIOs are aggressively targeting their CMO as the key stakeholder to partner with even though those CIOs want to be viewed as more business relevant. So with the absence of a good internal partner, marketing is doing what they’ve always done and outsourcing.

In many cases, Beck notes, it is fear that causes many CMOs to abandon their CIOs. Marketing is developing as social technology is developing. Many CMOs are afraid of being left in the dust or becoming irrelevant. CIOs tend to have more time to think whereas CMOs must act more quickly, and fear combined with quick thinking can lead to a rift in the CIO/CMO relationship.

However, Beck presents what she describes as “couple’s therapy” for CMOs and CIOs with six items to consider:

  • Both CIOs and CMOs know how to get things done
  • They both rely on making good technology decisions to help them make an impact on the business. And they become dependent on that stable of providers
  • The both love the next new tech toy or gadget and like showing them off.
  • They both have huge suggestion boxes nailed to their virtual doors because everyone is a self-appointed expert in their field.
  • The leadership team thinks they can produce magical results within their current constraints – because they often pull it off.
  • And they both don’t sleep through the night. Their jobs are never actually done. They could always be doing something more.

New technology and new trends can indeed put a wedge between CMOs and CIOs. Still, collaboration rather than discourse is usually preferable for business. Learning to take in new trends while adapting old relationships may be the key to success. Fostering a more inclusive environment will always bode well for your business.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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