CIO, CMO and lawyer collaboration in the ‘age of the customer’

From now on, a company’s digital strategy will become its driving strategy, because digital is increasingly and explosively the customer’s choice of forum for interaction.

This was a key takeaway I got as I joined last week more than 150 busy marketing executives, majority of them with chief marketing officer roles, at Forrester Research’s inaugural Summit for Marketing and Strategy Professionals in Sydney.

The theme was ‘Winning in the Age of the Customer’, and this group of executives, more than any others in business, gets the importance of the customer and customer experience (CX).

The day was all about digital and the technology to enable CX.

What was different about the messages this time was the emphasis and evidence right from the first speaker on the value of genuine cross-functional collaboration in organisations, coming from CMOs working with CIOs who are not in competition.

CIOs are well aware of the proliferation of shadow IT, which have pervaded organisations for years, and things being out of their control and out of sight.

Lawyers (both in-house and external) have also been last minute invitees to corporate project parties for years and have found themselves purveyors of doom when introduced too late.

Speakers including Louise Long, head of customer experience design at National Australia Bank, emphasised the advantage and competitive edge that has come from involving the widest range of brains possible in planning experiences for customers.

Long’s logic was that in a highly regulated environment where politicians respond to consumer clamours, why not bring in the lawyers early, who can help understand the legislative horizon and then design experiences to eliminate the need for the mandate of that legislation.

Having received clear evidence of the benefits of cross team collaboration, the rest of the day was spent building on the experiences of every speaker.

CMOs need to work with CIOs and stop going around them, with creative thinking a part of the tool kit as much in IS as in marketing. Jennie Vickers, Zeopard Law

The mobile mindshift

Julie Ask, vice president of Forrester Research, provided context around the digital agenda, sharing insights from her recently published book The Mobile Mind Shift.

Ask emphasised the importance of the different “mobile moment” experiences that consumers want, depending on their context.

Her solution was to follow the IDEA cycle:

  • Identify the mobile moments and context;
  • Design the mobile engagement;
  • Engineer your platforms, processes and people for mobile; and
  • Analyse results to monitor performance and optimise outcomes.
  • For those in an established business with a raft of legacy systems, this leap to digital is not proving easy.

    Gregan McMahon, senior executive digital business at Optus, explained that for the telco, this meant turning around the 70/20/10 business planning approach they traditionally used into 10/20/70. In essence, this means getting digital runs on the board first and fixing legacy systems last.

    Having established the importance of CMOs playing nicely in the sandbox with CIOs, a number of tech options were explored.

    Paul Cross, vice president customer success for Oracle Marketing Cloud, explained the rise of marketing orchestration. Again, the move beyond a single campaign mindset requires close CMO/CIO cooperation, he stressed.

    Dave Evans, vice president of social strategy at Lithium, demonstrated both the extreme expectations of customers and the digital strategies that are delivering on expectations.

    He redefined ‘Generation C’ away from a simple youth demographic to more encompassing all people regardless of age. It was a timely reminder that digital is not just for business-to-consumer targeting the young.

    Joe Stanhope, senior vice president of marketing at Signal, won the prize for disturbing the audience most by sharing research from January 2014 showing that in 2000, the human attention span was 12 seconds and by 2013, it was down to eight seconds

    This was bad enough, but worse to see the goldfish holding steady at nine seconds! His solution to this problem was to encourage “exclusion marketing”, or leaving your customer alone once they have brought something and give them time until the next eight second burst.

    Hard to avoid a conclusion that silly silos do need to come down, if organisations in New Zealand want to be the survivors in the ‘age of the customer’.

    CMOs need to work with CIOs and stop going around them, with creative thinking a part of the tool kit as much in IS as in marketing.

    The presentation by Carl Mogridge, head of digital A/NZ at Avon, demonstrated how this is possible. He showed how a 127-year-old business could go digital without killing its existing model. He aptly named it: “From Ding Dong to Dot.Com.”

    It was a nice reference to what the latter term was originally intended to mean. The irony was probably lost on a predominantly Australian audience, though.

    Next: CIOs and CMOs work around data and customer experience

    Page Break

    A day of disruption – and otherwise – for CIOs

    Day two of Forrester Research’s 2014 Forum in Sydney brought in CIOs to think and talk about “IT’s role in empowering digital business in the age of the customer”.

    Instead of an agenda stacked with technology info, this forum wove more unusual themes of storytelling, marketing, disruptive new technologies, the CIO’s role in guiding marketing around data and customer experience (CX).

    Forrester presented findings of its new report The State of Customer Experience Management in Australia, 2014 at the Forum. The good news is that 98 per cent of companies had CX in their strategic priorities list (compared to a global 92 per cent), but worryingly 51 per cent had the person leading CX initiatives outside of the C-suite.

    Less than a third included CX values in their recruitment screening. These features demonstrated a market with CX enthusiasm but not maturity or alignment between CX value aspirations and delivery.

    Three companies relatively new to APAC, provided an insight into disruptive alternatives to the status quo. The goal was to free up budget for IT teams wishing to support CMO initiatives and invest in CX projects instead of spending the traditional 80 per cent keeping the lights on.

    Rimini Street has a simple message for CIOs: Save 50 per cent on SAP and Oracle maintenance fees.

    The enthusiasm of customers globally to engage in discussions with Rimini Street indicates corporate enthusiasm to engage more budget in CX and innovative tech and digital projects.

    Data centre and networking provider Curvature is busy challenging the status quo on hardware maintenance costs. A Forrester Research report commissioned by Curvature revealed that “while 76 per cent of IT decision makers are concerned about pressures to reduce costs, many are unaware of the available options that exist for alternative maintenance contracts and are unduly influenced by vendors regarding hardware refresh cycles”.

    Commvault shared its disruptive approach of ‘data unification’ to save costs and increase efficiency by eliminating stale data and Fred’s home videos, out of the data management problem box.

    Every business talking CX will need to start rethinking how it delivers CX out of its traditional business units to prevent the otherwise inevitable decline. Jennie Vickers, Zeopard Law

    This much disruption in one place, by the new kids on the block, felt like a naughty conversation behind the bike shed, but it was clearly overdue.

    Every business talking CX will need to start rethinking how it delivers CX out of its traditional business units to prevent the otherwise inevitable decline.

    Fatemah Khatibloo, principal analyst at Forrester, talked about the help CMOs needed from CIOs in understanding big data and what to do with it when combined with little data.

    Speakers from Westpac, ING and Orange reinforced the benefits of showing non-IT colleagues what was possible with data, using cross team collaboration with a lot of disruption to deliver results.

    The value to tech leaders gaining insights into the world of the customers and their marketing colleagues should not be underestimated.

    With 70 per cent of Fortune 1000 companies being new on the index in just one decade, the businesses that are customer obsessed and digitally driven are going to win the war. Each battle will only be won if disruptive technologies are employed and everyone works together. It sounds pretty simple… or maybe not?

    Jennie Vickers ( is principal of Zeopard Law. She posted some of the slides and comments from the Forrester Forum captured on Twitter on her website.

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