CIOs’ relationship with marketing is weak: survey

With sales and marketing departments having more control over the technology agenda in many organisations, CIOs need to think about whether they are putting in enough time and effort in their relationship with the chief marketing officer (CMO) as they would with finance and other business chiefs. 

According to Harvey Nash’s 2013 global CIO survey of 2,029 participants from 10 countries, CIOs are not putting the same amount of effort into partnering with marketing as they are with finance and operations. The survey found less than 30 per cent of CIOs described their relationship with marketing to be very strong, compared to operations at 60 per cent and finance at 50 per cent. About 30 per cent also admitted that their relationship with marketing is weak.

“Whilst the poorer state of relations between IT and marketing may not have mattered so much in the past, the growth areas of mobile, digital, social and big data – all of which require collaboration between the CIO and CMO – are making this collaboration gap increasingly significant,” Harvey Nash’s report reads.

While building strong business relationships with finance is important, the survey found that 62 per cent of CEOs see their CIOs as having less of a cost-cutting role and acting more as a driver of growth and innovation, which means working more collaboratively with the CMO.

The survey also found 57 per cent of CIO’s don’t feel like they have the board’s full support in realising their technology visions for the business, with 49 per cent saying they are struggling to build support from other C-level executives.

Harvey Nash said with 22 per cent of CIOs feeling like they have lost direct control over some technology assets and applications in the last six years due to outsourcing, the ability to communicate effectively and influence decision-making is what is going to keep them relevant.

“The majority of CIOs appear to accept that ‘influence’ and ‘control’ over IT are quite different things in the collaboration age,” the report reads.

“‘Control’ does not equate to ‘influence’ and CIOs are increasingly seeing their role as collaborators rather than controllers [almost four in 10 CIOs believe they are using their influencing skills more than ever].”

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