Forrester CEO George Colony touts CIO-CMO collaboration

Founder and chairman of Forrester says CIOs and IT must evolve to stay relevant in the age of the customer

Forrester founder and CEO George Colony touted the shift from IT to business technology and urged CIOs to get closer to their marketing colleagues in the age of the customer.

Speaking at Forrester's CIO Forum in London and in an in-depth discussion afterwards with CIO and Christine Overby, Forrester vice-president and practice leader of digital and marketing leadership, chairman Colony said that "the only way forward is for the CMO and CIO to be highly co-operative".

"In many decades of experience I've noticed companies are not able to build customer-influencing, or customer-winning technology without that very close collaboration between the CIO and CMO," he said.

"I think there's perhaps about 10% of companies that do this well, and that figure is trending upwards because the pressure is now high on those roles to connect.

"Some industries are well ahead of others, retail and media being the leaders, with the least astute being food, transportation and manufacturing - but there is also very high variation in these sectors."

Colony cited the poor perception the IT function has in the eyes of other parts of the business, with Forrester research showing that 32% of marketing executives actually holding the view that the CIO was hindering business success.

Therefore, he said, IT needed to change in order to stay relevant.

"IT was blue collar technology," he said. "Business technology is more white collar. CIOs must move away from IT - from the fixing role of putting the fires out - and focus on the customer."

Overby noted how in some sectors where technology and analytics were pervasive IT had even infiltrated marketing. "The CMO of Capital One actually has an IT background," she said.

Colony said that because those who get the technology and employees who truly understand the customer are so rare, it's unlikely that roles with the dual skill sets will prevail and instead collaboration between business units should be the focus.

"Let's imagine you vaporise business technology and the CIO," Colony said. "Marketing will inevitably mess up the technology.

"But vice-versa, if you were to give marketing to the IT groups then they would mess up the customer side. They need to work together on this because there are different areas of expertise required, but IT as it's currently constituted will not be able to do this well.

"And I think it's very possible that future CIOs could even come from a marketing background."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Great content and well explained. Everything you need to know about Digital Design, this article has got you covered. You may also check ...

Ryota Miyagi

Why the art of human-centred design has become a vital CX tool

Read more

Interested in virtual events? If you are looking for an amazing virtual booth, this is definitely worth checking https://virtualbooth.ad...

Cecille Pabon

Report: Covid effect sees digital events on the rise long-term

Read more

Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article. It’s really impressive.Click Here & Create Status and share with family

Sanwataram

Predictions: 14 digital marketing predictions for 2021

Read more

Nice!https://www.live-radio-onli...

OmiljeniRadio RadioStanice Uzi

Google+ and Blogger cozy up with new comment system

Read more

Awesome and well written article. The examples and elements are good and valuable for all brand identity designs. Speaking of awesome, ch...

Ryota Miyagi

Why customer trust is more vital to brand survival than it's ever been

Read more

Blog Posts

A Brand for social justice

In 2020, brands did something they’d never done before: They spoke up about race.

Dipanjan Chatterjee and Xiaofeng Wang

VP and principal analyst and senior analyst, Forrester

Determining our Humanity

‘Business as unusual’ is a term my organisation has adopted to describe the professional aftermath of COVID-19 and the rest of the tragic events this year. Social distancing, perspex screens at counters and masks in all manner of situations have introduced us to a world we were never familiar with. But, as we keep being reminded, this is the new normal. This is the world we created. Yet we also have the opportunity to create something else.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Should your business go back to the future?

In times of uncertainty, people gravitate towards the familiar. How can businesses capitalise on this to overcome the recessionary conditions brought on by COVID? Craig Flanders explains.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

Sign in