CMO + CIO = Mobile Success

Sep 6, 2012

CIOUpdate Contributor

by Fernando Alvarez, vice president and leader of Capgemini's Mobile Solutions practice

Mobility is the next big phenomenon that is already here. According to Cisco, there will be more mobile devices than people by 2016 based on UN projections that the world population will reach 7.3 billion within four years. While many enterprises are already leveraging a host of mobile applications, cloud computing and even Web 2.0 technologies that are largely powered and maintained by IT, there’s a new executive on the block that will soon be involved in mobility, if they aren’t already: the CMO.

Recently Forrester Research stated that the enterprise mobility services market is one of the fastest growing segments in the IT services market. To remain competitive, enterprises must place mobility at the core of their business strategy, demanding a shift from an IT-driven to a consumer-driven agenda in which the CIO is no longer the sole gatekeeper. To implement an effective mobility strategy, there must be a meeting of the minds between the CIO and CMO whose very relationship is changing in light of the changes mobility is bringing to the marketplace.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that marketing budgets are by and large bigger than IT budgets and growing faster every day.  Sooner or later, it is expected that IT spending by the CMO will outgrow that of the CIO as confirmed in a recent webinar from Gartner, By 2017 the CMO will Spend More on IT Than the CIO. This finding is especially interesting if you also consider the huge potential for rapid growth in areas like mobile marketing given a significant gap between consumer interest (about 23 percent spent on mobile) and dedicated share of marketing budget (about one percent).

Inevitably, the CMO will have more influence than the CIO on the technology decisions made when purchasing mobile solutions for marketing and defining the mobile strategy to work with new channels like social networks. To be effective, the CIO and CMO must work together to evaluate and choose mobile platforms that have both a short and long term focus and work with cross-platform solutions.

They should also look to create a mix of responsive websites that look good on all screen sizes and native apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Oftentimes, the CMO will focus on creating a mobile strategy for B2C or B2B while the CIO focuses on B2E. For example, how does the enterprise handle customers and employees who buy and bring their own devices? However, it makes sense for the CMO and CIO to formulate and implement a joint mobile strategy.

In many ways, this means that the CIO should think of the CMO as a very important client. Just one who is buying IT internally. However, as the Gartner webinar also pointed out, the CIO will likely face a perception challenge from the CMO who thinks of internal IT as slow, negative, and preferring stability over innovation and change. To change those perceptions, CIOs can help the CMO find an effective way to reach customers through mobile channels.

To do so, the IT department needs to find ways of making critical data, such as product information, available to the mobile channels in a secure way. Even if the CIO has adopted a solid service-oriented architecture (SOA), those services are usually not suitable for mobile consumption, which calls for creating mobile or even multi-channel services. If the CIO can also provide the tools to measure the success of mobile marketing activities, that will surely win the heart of the CMO. At best, the CIO will even make it possible to take the mobile marketing to the next level by enabling business transactions through the mobile channels.

The CMO needs the technical knowledge of the CIO and the CIO needs to learn how to embrace change. The CMO needs to understand the long term consequences of technology decisions and the CIO needs to rethink IT processes to be more agile. The CIO needs to learn more about the world outside of the company and the CMO needs to understand the hard IT facts about the company internals. And in perhaps the most difficult challenge of all, the CIO must develop, understand, manage, secure and, to some extent, support social media initiatives launched by the CMO even though social media itself resides in the Cloud and is beyond IT's direct control.

Some say that cooperation between the CMO and CIO is a core requirement for staying relevant. Whether that is true or not, there is no doubt that an aligned marketing and IT team can be very powerful in taking on the challenges and opportunities that mobile channels provide.

Fernando Alvarez, vice president and leader of Capgemini's Mobile Solutions practice who has more than 25 years’ experience in the mobile industry including his former role as Executive Chairman and Founder of Abaco.

Tags: Mobile Analytics,

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