Relent, CIOs. Your Kingdom Has Been Infiltrated.
Nearly 70 percent of companies plan to spend more money on data projects for marketing this year, according to Forbes. By 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs, Gartner projects. Marketers demand big data analysis and fast, mobile applications that will reach audiences all over the planet. As their need for data processing grows, marketers are putting more pressure on IT to deliver the tools they need.
The CIO’s Altered Kingdom
IT is in an identity crisis. For several years, workers have adopted cloud-based technology outside of the CIO’s kingdom on devices outside of IT’s control, a phenomenon known as BYOD (bring your own device). CMOs, for one, are already accessing and crunching data on Google Analytics, automating their marketing campaigns on Marketo and managing the health of their customer base on Zendesk. None of these are legacy tools. All are managed by entities outside of IT.
In a world where third-party providers prevail, the CIO is left with a new role, one involving a partnership with the CMO [and other functional heads]. Here are four ways to make that partnership work without pain.
1. Give the Cloud and SaaS a Chance
A number of CIOs still don’t understand that the cloud has adapted to fit enterprise needs, including security, privacy and access controls. It’s no longer a ‘toy’ for consumers. Cloud providers like Google and Amazon may have started out targeting consumers, but they’ve grown up and have more than proved themselves to be safe for business use.
Now is the time to adopt the cloud. In a couple of years, the notion of on-premise data will be seriously under threat. It just won’t be secure enough. If a hurricane wipes out your single point of failure, you’re finished. Go to the cloud now so that you won’t regret it later.
2. Leverage Big Data
With storage and collaboration taken care of by the cloud, it’s time to focus on your big data infrastructure. The old way of investing in heavy infrastructure is over. Old-school business intelligence (BI) involved high overhead cost, months-long implementations, ongoing infrastructure management and an expensive specialist to make sense of all the data being generated.
Today’s new cloud-based platforms turn big data into a true partner for the entire business. They operate on the cloud, so IT’s role is to make sure that BI and other SaaS-based networks run quickly and continually, are accessible on the right devices to the right people, and don’t break the bank.
3. Democratize Information
It used to be that IT, because they were the only ones who knew how to run systems without breaking them, hoarded information and provided siloed views to different constituents. The new era of IT, however, is one of democracy. IT must stop hoarding information and provide permissions for marketing and others to access that data. Information is king now, and decision-making must be a group process. It’s the CIO’s job to make sure that everyone has the information they need on a real-time basis.
4. Stay Agile
Maybe it used to take six months to roll out and provision an on-premise solution that was rigid and couldn’t easily accommodate the changing needs of your customers. Today, with the cloud, there’s no excuse to do that. Cloud-based solutions are up and running in days, enabling IT to stay agile and deliver more quickly. One of the CIO’s new main priorities is to figure out how to launch, manage and operate systems quickly, so that the systems themselves are consistently available and scale seamlessly. Waiting has become too expensive.
Time to Be a Team Player
While the CIO used to operate IT in a relatively isolated, perhaps elite domain, that model has changed. Today’s CIO must be a team player, because technology has changed the way the team operates. With key constituents choosing cloud-based solutions (SalesForce, Marketo…) for faster time to value and greater agility and devices brought from home, the CIO has been forced into a position of collaboration with the rest of the company. Hoard information and nothing will ever get done.
And really, is that such a bad thing?