CIOs need to stop trying to force CMOs to purchase technology through the IT department and focus on offering skills in purchasing and vendor management that marketers don't have, says Tourism Australia's CIO, Dave Rumsey.
Rumsey, who was part of a panel discussion on Wednesday at the Forrester CMO+CIO Summit in Sydney, said business units are no longer relying on the IT group to provision and implement all their technology needs. Nowadays, with a browser and a credit card, they can purchase an off the shelf tool or service in no time.
This shadow IT, as it is referred to, has mostly been prevalent in marketing departments that work in a dynamic, fast paced world, with a plethora of marketing-tech vendors ready to jump on the chance of fulfilling their needs quickly.
“The reality of it is that any time a CIO turns around and says 'no' then he/she should know we will just go and find it somewhere else,” said CMO of Hospitals Contribution Fund, Jenny Williams, who was part of discussion panel with Rumsey.
“We are still sitting here as technologists and saying 'you have got to come to us for the services that actually work'. I can tell you that is not the truth,” added Rumsey.
He said instead of trying to take total control and only have marketing look to IT for every kind of technology they need, focus on adding value by offering the tech skills that marketing is not necessarily strong in.
One example is selecting the right solution, Rumsey said. With more than enough marketing-tech in the market to overwhelm, there's a role for the CIO and the IT team to sit down with marketing and guide them in their decisions so they are not left with a tool that doesn't really do what they want.
“That is the opportunity for CIOs: to understand [what marketing needs] in much more detail,” he said.
“Ask [marketing] what is it you really want? It's really quite simple to say this is the platform you should invest in, let's get out of that bad contract and get into this one. That really adds value when you make sure that the marketing department has got a much better, much stronger set of tools to use.”
Another example is contract and vendor management. Rumsey said most CIOs have nailed the skills required for vendor management, as it is an important part of their role. CMOs, on the other hand, are not necessarily known for their talent in vendor management.
“It's not something that's done well in other parts of the business, and we've been doing that for a long time and we know how to manage vendors. That's a real value add,” he said.
Williams said although it's quite easy to look to vendors for a quick solution, there's real value for marketing in turning to the internal IT team.
“The opportunity to do it internally, though, is more cost effective, are likely to deliver better for the customer experience, can do advance stuff in terms of being responsive and developing those insights - all that sort of stuff.
“There's no way an external vendor is ever going to spend the time getting their head around the business enough to do that. So there's a bigger opportunity if you can do it internally,” she said.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.