What the CIO-CMO IT Spending Transition Means for Collaboration and Innovation

At the beginning of 2012, Gartner made headlines with its prediction that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs. Since then, it seems like everyone has weighed in on this prediction, with some agreeing, some disagreeing, some piping in with the thought that it doesn’t really matter who does the IT spending and some getting downright angry at the prediction. Now, 2017 is creeping closer and industry experts and outlets are beginning the conversation again to see just how true Gartner’s prediction is, and if it is true, what it will mean for the IT industry and innovation.


When the prediction was first announced in 2012, Forbes wrote an article about how marketing was becoming increasingly based on technology, and that to evolve with the industry, CIOs and CMOs would have to forge relationships with one another and start working together. That suggestion has been repeated in countless articles and blog posts across the web and it remains true four-and-a-half years later. Already, CIOs and CMOs are working more closely than before, and collaboration remains just as important as ever.

Collaboration is key not just to keep business units running smoothly, but it will also become necessary for innovation. While today’s CIOs have stepped into a larger role involving strategic business planning and innovation, as the spending transition becomes a reality, CIOs will have to work with CMOs on developing new products as well as systems. Likewise, CMOs will have to work with CIOs and truly listen to them as part of that collaborative process. If CIOs or CMOs block each other out, the relationship will never work.

Steve Roatch, CEO of Twentyseven Global, said, “We’ve been engaged by CMOs to deliver customer engagement solutions that have had incredible ROI.  The CMO has the advantage of being on the front line with the customer.  They come up with ideas that are not likely to be conceived by the CIO.  But the CIO thinks of things that the CMO does not.  Do we have skills in-house to support the technology?  What steps have been taken to secure sensitive corporate data?  Clearly, the two must work together to achieve an optimal outcome.”

What does all of this mean? In short, when the transition from CMO to CIO does take place (and it most likely will), IT and marketing have to be each other’s allies instead of their adversaries. According to Baseline Magazine, “This is a great opportunity for CIOs to showcase their expertise, data insights and unique perspective to help marketers and the business as a whole succeed.”

Those in the IT industry shouldn’t see this transition as a loss, but as a chance for IT to come out from behind-the-scenes and actively innovate and collaborate front and center.



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