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CIOs Told: Leave Innovation to the CMO

In a world where innovation and information technology are practically synonymous, CIOs may be disillusioned to find that they are no longer regarded as chief innovators of the digital age, yielding much of that responsibility to their marketing counterparts. In a review of a recent CEB study by David Weldon of FierceCIO, this sudden shift of perception is explained.

The Digital CMO

The CEB study finds that departments like marketing and finance are better positioned to drive digital innovation within the organization. This contradicts the popular proposition that CIOs are the new leaders of digital innovation. Weldon finds proof in an excerpt from ComputerWeekly:

“Spending on technology outside the IT department is growing rapidly, and is now effectively adding 40 percent to companies' IT budgets,…”… As a result, CIOs should actively encourage other parts of the business to develop their own innovative digital projects…

It’s Nothing Personal

The quote goes on to say that digitalization and technology are too important to be left to a single department. That doesn’t mean the CIO has no stake in the process. It simply acknowledges that, for the CIO, the role of coach or mentor might be more appropriate. There are some false impressions – that marketing departments want to own large-scale IT spend or outspend CIOs on IT. But CEB puts those myths to rest, stating that the shift of innovation demands to marketing is purely business-driven.

Teaming Up

In truth, when it comes to responding to digital innovation, marketing and IT are the perfect team for the job. Not only are companies increasing their focus on technology training for staff of all departments, but marketing and IT functions are increasingly adopting the same set of processes. In a sense, neither side holds a privileged command over innovation.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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