The CIO's Second Agenda

In addition to managing the IT agendas of their companies, CIOs must build a second agenda of Business Technology (systems, technology, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers). The IT agenda focuses internally on supply chains, financial systems, and administrative technology. These are all critical -- most corporations would stop in minutes without IT. But as empowered and digital customers demand more, BT will emerge to concentrate on technologies -- CRM, systems of engagement, customer apps, customer insight, digital customer service as examples -- that will enhance customer experience.

Forrester does not believe that a Chief Digital Officer will arrive on a white horse to run BT, and we also do not agree with the trendy assertion that marketing is going to be in charge of all customer technology. Because of the close synergy between the IT and BT agendas, we believe that the CIO and his or her staff must adroitly manage both. And as unnatural as it might seem in many organizations, the CIO must execute on the BT agenda in concert with the CMO and business unit leaders. A go-it-alone approach will create havoc and unhappy customers.

If you are a CIO and the prospect of managing BT feels daunting, don't panic -- it's still early. I recently gave a speech to 500 CIOs from the Benelux countries. When I asked the question "Do you think you should be driving BT?" almost all the hands in the room went up. But when I asked a second question "Are you ready to build the BT agenda?" only 20% said "yes." This voyage is just beginning.

But it is time to get moving. I was recently with the CIO of a large NY investment bank. Here's how he saw the picture: "The IT agenda is under massive cost pressure here at the bank -- that's why we are pushing into the cloud and turning to virtualization. But I have almost unlimited money for the BT agenda. That's happening because our CEO is terrified of losing customers."

It's time for CIOs to juggle the two balls -- to prove that they can mobilize their teams to build the BT agenda (in collaboration with the CMO) while expertly running IT at the same time. If the CIO doesn't drive BT, someone else will. Badly.

What do you think the CIO's number one challenge will be when it comes the the BT agenda? Comment back -- I'd love to get your thoughts.

Comments

On the CIOs second agenda...

I completely agree that not everything marketing technology related is, or should be of marketing's purview. I've been sitting at that intersection between marketing and technology for the latter part of my career. A strong alignment between CIO and CMO will, in my opinion, provide the best scenario for getting business technologies to drive bottom line results.

How should CIOs and CMOs work together?

What are the five best practices that will ensure that CIOs and CMOs have a productive relationship? I'd love to get your ideas.

Top 5 things that will ensure CIOs and CMOs make it work!

I'm going to make this very easy on myself here because it's already been well articulated by two people by the names of Matt Ariker and Jesko Perrey on the HBR Blog Network | 8:00 AM February 4, 2014. Here's what they listed as the top 5:

1. Be clear on decision governance
2. Build the right teams
3. Bring complete transparency
4. Hire marketing/IT "translators"
5. Learn to drive before you fly

The piece concludes by saying that the effective use of Big Data is already separating the winners from the losers across a wide range of industries. But there are no short cuts to getting it right - and the CMO and CIO share total responsibility for success or failure. Note; share total responsibility.

Keeping pace with the pace of

Keeping pace with the pace of change both externally and internally can pose its own pressures.
On the one hand the business environment brings significant technological advances in several areas continually. Customers today are better informed and more savvy in negotiating their needs. Competition is also fierce and increasingly globalized. This is compounded by the statutory obligations and regulatory implications of ones business.

Keeping a close eye on all of these factors externally while internally keeping all the teams in sync can pose its significant challenges.

Internal to organization the silo effects and the inertia to change can be quiet daunting.
The continuous learning of the teams can be a significant challenge on the comfort zone of the employees. The human side of turf wars and politics can also be rough sometimes.

Trying experiments continually, learning and adapting demands stamina, determination, tenacity and balance from the CIO and is the number one challenge in the BT agenda.

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