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Dan Weisbeck

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CMOs vs CIOs: Time to Team Up?

Posted: 27/09/2013 11:54

At first glance, it may seem like the role of a CIO and CMO are at opposite ends of the spectrum. But as the online customer experience steadily becomes more intertwined and dependent on technical prowess, they might just have to rely on each other to get the job done. And nowhere is this interdependency more pronounced than in shaping an organization's mobile strategy. So the question really becomes: are CIOs and CMOs on the road to collaboration, or headed for collision?

The latest Netbiscuits survey revealed that despite mobile web strategy being primarily owned by the CIO today (44% of cases), over 50% of CMOs believe that sole ownership of mobile should increasingly belong to them. CMOs were also unfavorable to the idea of alignment with CIOs; only 9% of them said this was a desirable situation, compared to 23% of CIOs who would welcome greater ownership from the CMO office.

What does this mean for organizations today? While marketing might have won the battle with IT over who runs the website, mobile strategy requires an equal - if not higher - amount of care and attention to customer experience in addition to technical expertise. Times are changing fast, and CMOs are increasingly becoming more active in technology. This just goes to show the importance of technology for customer brand loyalty, and therefore, revenue. Technology is no longer just about productivity and cost optimization - issues that the IT department has traditionally dealt with.

Revenue generation is important of course, but security is also very critical. Maintaining data protection is something that CIOs are significantly more likely to see a challenge in (83% compared to 64% of CMOs.) When it comes to keeping pace with changes, CMOs seem even less concerned (47% compared to 72% of CIOs).

In fact, CIOs do seem more attuned to the challenges of the mobile web in general. The major exception to this is when it comes to understanding customer behaviour. Unsurprisingly, CMOs are by far the most knowledgeable when it comes to customers. CIOs are most knowledgeable when it comes to technical info. So in practice, where the ownership of mobile strategy lies can actually have a very big impact on the direction a mobile strategy takes, and which challenges are prioritised.

We would argue that consumer expectations and behaviour are just as important for an enterprise as the broader technical challenges of security, data protection and implementation. So could uniting both parties be a sound strategy for achieving customer satisfaction, retention and conversion? Very much so if you subscribe to the views of the other C-levels who took part in the survey. 30% believe there's room for joint ownership between the CMO and CIO.

And we concur. After all, 79% of the CIOs and 86% of the CMOs surveyed agree that increasing sales through the mobile channel is important. But it's the focus and approach to how they'll deliver a joint-vision that will be their most trying challenge. Bringing the two offices together clearly has its advantages. Whether they treat each other as foe or ally is up to them - let's just hope it's not at the expense of the consumer experience.

You can get the full results of the 'CMOs vs. CIOs: The Fight for Mobile Web Strategy' survey here

 
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