Are CIOs Really Losing Power and Relevancy to CMOs?
We’ve been hearing since late 2011 that the near future in IT and digital asset creation would showcase a not so slow demise in both the power and relevancy of the office of the CIO (Chief Information Officer). Stories such as Wired’s – 2012 Will Be the Year of the Apocalyptic Reckoning for CIO’s focused on Gartner predictions for the near-future and in a nutshell was stating that due to myriad factors, an exodus of capital would incur and budgetary dollars would shift to the business side, mainly controlled by the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) where applications and neo-user experiences were being brought to market, thus creating value for the enterprise’s end-users. This was the grand shift and if we’ve learned anything in the history of man, we’ve learned that where the money flows, so goes the power. Well, it is now Q2, 2013 and the question remains… is this shift occurring?
Keeping in mind that most often at TopCoder we sell into the office of the CIO and therefore have zero benefit of “predicting their demise” of power or relevancy, we would be ignoring internal trends if we were to state that we have not seen a noticeable uptick in prospects coming to us from the business side, and indeed stemming directly from the CMO office. Whether this translates to some loss of power or simply is reflective of a grander broadening of which aspects of an enterprise are looking to Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing to create digital assets, we cannot be certain. There is another interesting trend that deserves your attention.
Rise of the CMT & the Wildcard CDO
Along with what our internal trends tell us, an emergence of popular new roles in the enterprise seem to bolster this claim that “power” is shifting in some shape or form. The rise of the CMT or Chief Marketing Technologist indicates that under the office of the CMO, many enterprises are opting to arm their marketing teams with their own tech focused leaders who can bridge strategy and technology. Then there is the CDO or Chief Digital Officer, who in many instances reports to neither the CIO or CMO, but rather works directly with the CEO, is focused on understanding and connecting with the organization’s modern customer and is in charge of developing the neo-digital user experiences. But wait, isn’t that what the new age CMO was just put in charge of? Yes, it turns out there isn’t just a power shift, but a genuine battle royale playing out at many enterprises today.
Read this insightful article from Scott Brinker who heads Chiefmartec.com. Here, Scott is thoughtfully laying out the case that marketing needs to own digital and if a CMO is being trumped by a CDO when it comes time to creating these new user experiences, then something is misaligned. Enjoy Scott’s article here.
So, if a CIO is losing power to the CMO via the CMT, and the CMO is losing power to the CDO via the CEO, where does that leave you? Besides potentially confused and reminded of the classic “Spaceballs” scene – When will then be now!? Soon! – one more question should emerge: What can solve this?
How Open Innovation Platforms Bridge this Divide
This part of the discussion should focus on what these different roles can receive when working on an innovation platform and creating assets via crowdsourced competitions. Please consider this slide below:
Whoever ends up being in charge of digital asset creation, we encourage you to take these thoughts forward as it pertains to leveraging Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing to create new digital products and solutions.
If you hail from the IT side, you can provide your business units and marketing team with a place to create their digital assets in a low-risk environment that accelerates their vision. You give those teams the freedom to go experiment and to go create new user experiences and that is what they want.
If you come from the business side, and specifically the marketing side, you can bring a platform like TopCoder to your CIO and share with them that all assets created on TopCoder are built and fully documented to their exacting IT standards put forth by the CIO’s team.
In each case, regardless of which side you come from, you are emerging as an innovative problem solver. Jockeying internally for the rights to go create valuable assets might be a waste of energy and resources. Instead, envision an environment where each “side” is receiving what they really want and the enterprise as a whole is able to innovate faster as a result due to embracing Open Innovation and Crowdsourcing.
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image credit: citycigarlife.blogspot.com, chiefmartec.com, mgm.com