CMOs and CIOs battle for mobile strategy ownership

New report from Netbiscuits and Vanson Bourne finds CMOs are striving to attain more ownership of mobile Web strategy above their CIO counterparts, at the potential expense of customer experience

CMOs have become the aggressor in the c-suite battle with CIOs for ownership of mobile strategy to the potential detriment of customer experience, a new report claims.

According to the report produced by research firm, Vanson Bourne, and mobile solutions provider, Netbiscuits, 51 per cent of CMOs believe they should acquire more ownership of their organisation’s mobile Web strategy ahead of the CIO, with only 9 per cent seeing it as the CIO’s responsibility. In contrast, just 35 per cent of CIOs agreed.

Of the CMOs surveyed, 53 per cent cited the need to provide customers with a greater number of channels for interaction as a critical reason for owning mobile Web strategy. However, 30 per cent of c-level executives believed a joint approach between CMO and CIO was desirable, as did 23 per cent of CIOs. (infographic below)

At present, 71 per cent of CIOs participating in the survey have at least partial control of mobile Web strategy, compared with 48 per cent of CMOs. The responsibility was shared at 27 per cent of companies covered.

However, the report claimed CMOs aren’t yet ready for the responsibility, with only 50 per cent stating that testing is a critical or very important factor to improving mobile customer experience. This is despite the fact that other research indicates 76 per cent of consumers will leave a mobile website if it is hard to use, the report authors stated. In comparison, 74 per cent of CIOs said testing was critical where mobile Web strategy is concerned.

The latest report also found the conflict between CMOs and CIOs was driven by differing motivations. While the CMO is focused on improving aspects of the customer experience, the CIO is much more aware of the technical challenges in delivering some of the CMO’s requirements.

Eighty-six per cent of CIOs were also more concerned with the bottom line revenue improvement from improving sales via mobile platforms.

The findings are reminiscent of a c-level survey undertaken by Accenture Interactive, which found CMOs and CIOs still don’t trust each other even though they recognise the need for increased collaboration between the two sides. In that report, the consultancy group found one of the biggest challenges is the distinction between technology management and usage.

“Mobile Web strategy must be based on clear, common business objectives with targets defined in both the CIO and CMO areas,” said Netbiscuits CMO and COO, Daniel Weisbeck.

“The real battle to watch therefore is not between the CIO and the CMO, but whether a joint CMO-CIO approach or a dedicated function approach provides the best mechanism to align customer experience objectives with the technical challenges of delivering these goals. A successful combination of their approaches and motivations provides the real basis for an extremely strong mobile strategy.”

Currently, just 8 per cent of organisations surveyed have a dedicated mobile function within the business. The Vanson Bourne report was based on surveys of 300 CIOs, CMOs and other c-level executives in September across the US and UK, all from organisations with more than 100 employees.

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