Digital transformation has driven many substantial, strategic changes that will impact organizations for decades. One of the most important is the move to a customer-centric view of the business, utilizing game-changing digital systems that collect and analyze every detail of the customer experience (CX). Initially, marketing teams deployed and ran these systems. However, as these digital tools became mission-critical, CIOs and CMOs have started working as partners. This effort is another manifestation of how IT is moving from managing back-office functions to supporting digital tools that drive the business.
Today’s successful CIOs have moved from a focus on technology to a role of business strategist and leader. According to Cynthia Stoddard, CIO and senior vice president at Adobe, “Today’s CIOs need to have strong technology and business acumen. They play a strategic role with business strategy and digitization, so they need to understand the key metrics for business performance and how to improve those metrics. It’s important for them to keep an eye on tech trends and constantly look around the corner for what’s next.”
What’s more, the CIO and the IT team must continually evolve to respond and align to the business needs. CX is a poster child for this.
It’s important to understand how IT and CIO skills will be brought to bear for improving CX and the systems that are driving it. The technology quotient of improved CX is quite substantial. Leading firms are deploying new systems that work across channels, provide a 360-degree view of the customer, enable real-time personalization, and support very fine-grained analytics.
CIOs and the IT team need to be strategic partners in creating, deploying, and operating the integrated data platform that will support these capabilities. This includes stitching together data from many different systems (CRM, financial, behavioral, and more).
“This is where CIOs’ roles are integral—we are the data stewards,” says Stoddard. “We have the knowledge and experience in integrating and harnessing big data at scale.”
Putting it all together
In addition, the IT team has a unique and deep understanding of the systems used by other functional disciplines—critical knowledge for how to best integrate these disparate systems.
As a leader in digital systems that enable world-class CX, Adobe initially focused on addressing the needs of the CMO. But this has changed substantially.
“When Adobe first created the Digital Marketing category, our goal was to address the needs of the CMO,” says Stoddard. “But as our role in the enterprise continued to grow, our scope has expanded. Now, delivering best-in-class CX is a C-level mandate and requires CMOs and CIOs to work closely together.”
A good example of this is the use of Adobe Experience Platform, at the heart of which is content and data to drive CX. This requires consolidating various enterprise data sets into one cohesive platform that provides true insights about customers’ experiences. This is only possible when the CMO and CIO work together.
The breadth and comprehensive nature of digital CX tools require this partnership. Organizations that have “operational silos” will be unable to move with the necessary speed or as a coordinated entity. Marketing is now a data-driven discipline, requiring the expertise of both groups to get it right.
For more information on how CIOs and CMOs can lead the drive for competitive advantage through CX, click here.