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The role of the CIO is changing dramatically. Once tightly focused on internal IT issues, CIOs have become business partners with the various operations within their firm. A testament to this change is how well most CIOs have helped their organization transform into a digital business. In just a few short years, organizations have become data-driven, they’re using cloud infrastructure to gain amazing levels of speed and agility, and they’ve deployed analytics tools that have moved management to look to the future instead of the rear-view mirror.
For most CIOs bringing digital transformation to their organization, updating the internal systems that track and run the company was the first focus. This included removing the barriers and inefficiencies that the legacy approaches of the 1990s imposed. This initial step was straightforward for CIOs because it played into their old systems focus.
However, CIOs are now looking to provide even more benefits from digital transformation that have the potential to give the organization competitive advantage.
The newest area of focus for the CIO will be customer-facing systems. That will bring the CIO into partnership with the CMO to ensure that the organization has the best-in-class customer experience (CX), bringing higher revenue and greater efficiency. This will be a new experience for many CIOs, most of whom have never been intimately involved with the implementation of legacy marketing technology and solutions. Marketing at most organizations has a history of finding and implementing solutions on their own, but now they need a deep partnership between the CIO and CMO as they seek to move to next-generation apps. The knowledge and skill sets required are very different from what was needed when the legacy systems were implemented.
As they seek to improve CX, one of the most important areas of collaboration for the CMO and the CIO is to ensure that the infrastructure that underlies customer-facing systems and apps is truly industrial-grade. This hasn’t always been the case for legacy marketing deployments. CIOs can help ensure that customer-facing systems can scale up to meet peak demands and scale down to operate efficiently during a lull. Resiliency and availability will also be key requirements, particularly as more customers move to digital interaction with brands. Any IT outage or service interruption can result in “closing the store.”
Another strength that the CIO brings to the table is the ability to improve security and data protection. As the number of privacy statutes and compliance regimes expands, CIOs and their cyber-security partners will have to pay special attention to marketing systems that contain personally identifiable information (PII), credit card data, and other information that’s attractive to cyber-attackers. Marketing systems cannot fall outside of the organization’s overall data protection and data privacy programs, so the CIO’s input is essential.
The CMO and the marketing team want to do more and do it faster, and the CIO can be a key enabler of that goal. Relying on the CIO to ensure that technical issues don’t impact new customer-facing capabilities such as real-time personalization, intelligent product recommendations, or true omnichannel support is a huge advantage for the CMO. CIOs looking for the next big win will partner with CMOs to ensure that they can deliver the superior CX that defines a successful organization. To learn more about how CIOs can help improve CX, there is more information here.
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