Big data brings CMOs and CIOs closer together: Report

Latest study from the CMO Council finds marketing and IT united in getting to know the customer better through big data, but challenges remain in building a good relationship

The majority of CMOs and CIOs recognise the importance of building a relationship with each other as big data opens up and challenges their company’s customer knowledge, a new survey claims.

According to a report produced by the CMO Council in conjunction with SAS, Big Data’s Biggest Role: Aligning the CMO and CIO, 85 per cent of marketers as well as IT executives believe their relationship with each other is critical, with 63 per cent of marketers citing big data and data-based insights as the area of greatest mutual value.

In addition, 62 per cent of IT executives see marketing as their partner in advancing analytics and data-driven decision making throughout the organisation.

However, the same percentage of IT executives said strategy collaboration was in need of improvement, and called on marketers to approach them earlier in the process, rather than just platform selection and deployment. According to the survey, 41 per cent of marketers and 39 per cent of IT executives claim to be aligned with one another, but admit to frustrations over executing priority projects.

The two sides also reflect many similarities, particularly when it comes to big data. The CMO Council found 40 per cent of marketers and 51 per cent of IT respondents view big data as critical in achieving a customer-centric business culture, while nearly two-third of marketers and IT professional believe big data to be both an obstacle and an opportunity.

A further 52 per cent of marketers and 45 per cent of IT professionals blamed functional silos for blocking aggregation of data across an organisation, making the utilisation of big data more difficult.

“In this age of digital engagement, it is easy to see how the roles of the CMO and CIO are intertwined,” CMO Council executive director, Donovan Neale-May, said. “But the relationship has evolved beyond platforms and processes and has become solidified over the data needs of the organisation.

“Separately, the two roles can devolve into bickering over budget, ownership and governance. But aligned and coupled, these two roles become silo-busters, with the ultimate goal of enabling enterprise-wide customer centricity.”

Neale-May claimed both groups are eager for a better level of engagement, but blamed a lack of strong, centralised leadership as a major stumbling block. The report found 18 per cent of marketing and 20 per cent of IT executives believe customer ownership rests across the CEO, while 17 per cent of marketing and 19 per cent of IT saw this responsibility on the doorstep of the CMO.

A similar number of respondents believed sales had the customer honours (19 per cent of marketing versus 15 per cent of IT), or that ownership was either undefined or spread across multiple functions (14 per cent of marketers versus 17 per cent of IT).

Weaknesses also remain in how organisations go about defining their customer approach. Thirty-one per cent of marketers and 33 per cent of IT executives believed the key attributes of customer centricity have only been partially adopted in their organisation.

CMO Council: Key findings snapshot:
  • 61 per cent of marketers and 60 per cent of IT executives agree big data is part obstacle and part opportunity
  • 52 per cent of marketers and 45 per cent of IT professionals believe functional silos block aggregation of data from across the organisation, hindering a customer-centric approach
  • 41 per cent of marketers and 39 per cent of IT executives claim to be aligned, but admit to challenging in executing priority projects
  • 48 per cent of marketers and 44 per cent of IT executives are only moderately confident in the ability of their organisation’s core touchpoints to reach and engage with the customer.

More required reading:

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia.

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