Industry observers have long talked up the need for CIOs to cozy up to other members of the C-suite, including the CFO and the CEO. "Reincarnate" CIOs who possess this ability to interact with their business peers could eventually ascend to the CEO spot, according to HCL Technologies.
One C-level colleague CIOs shouldn't ignore is the chief marketing officer (CMO), because the marketing department is increasingly perceived as a leader in bringing innovative ideas to market.
Forty-five percent of respondents to an Oracle-sponsored survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit said marketing brings innovative ideas to market, putting it in the company of product development (47 percent) and research and development (44 percent). No other business unit got a response of higher than 25 percent.
Just 19 percent of respondents said IT was involved. And a troubling 13 percent of respondents said IT was not involved in their company's business innovation.
Industry analysts appear to agree. According to Gartner, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs by 2017. And Forrester Research recently hosted its first CIO-CMO Forum , during which at least one CMO acknowledged "building my own pseudo-IT organization in marketing."
Bonding over Big Data
It's not all bad news for IT, though. The survey also spotlights some opportunities for CIOs to work more closely with CMOs.
"Data offers a great opportunity for the CIO to deliver cross-organizational value, especially now that CMOs are becoming more focused on ROI and on using data to make decisions," said Reggie Bradford, Oracle's vice president of business development.
Survey respondents tapped both Big Data analysis and social media as key drivers of innovation. Sixty percent of respondents said Big Data analysis can be used to develop new pricing models, and 38 percent made a connection between Big Data analysis and developing new products or services. Social media was recognized as creating a closer connection to customers by improving customer service (43 percent) and developing new marketing channels (44 percent).
One of the keys to effectively using both Big Data and social media is integrating non-traditional data sources like social channels with more traditional ones like corporate databases, Bradford said. Doing so can help identify the often-elusive ROI of social technologies.
"There is a huge opportunity for organizations that can link those things together," he said. "You can see the impact social has in terms of delivering ROI, if you can link social actions to decreasing call volume or link social activity with your marketing automation database so you can quantify and measure the impact of those leads on sales."
Oracle touts its Social Media Platform, introduced last month at Oracle OpenWorld, as a way of integrating customer-related data from enterprise, social and external sources with business applications like CRM. Addressing OpenWorld attendees, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said Oracle built its Social Relationship Management Platform using technologies gained through its acquisitions of companies such as Collective Intellect, Involver and Vitrue, the latter company founded by Bradford.
Ann All is the editor of Enterprise Apps Today. Follow Enterprise Apps Today on Twitter @EntApps2Day.