The rise of technology is pushing companies to evolve faster than before and is blurring the lines between CMO and CIO. With the SaaS market expected to hit $110.5 billion in 2020, due in part to hyper-specialization by business function, IT’s traditional role of centrally controlling applications is changing. This change is causing stakeholders to demand more control over their own work and applications.  

Historically, Marketing has been one of the most siloed departments in an organization. The Marketing Technology Industry Council Report states that less than a fifth of marketers believe their tech stack adds significant value, highlighting the disparity between technology and efficiency including the lack of an improved customer experience from start to finish and accessing the right data at the right time. With the rise in MarTech apps, from around 150 apps in 2011 to 7,040 in 2019, marketers are turning to Shadow IT to fulfill their needs and the processes between core systems. The roles of a CMO and CIO, therefore, are duplicating because of that disconnect and inefficiency.

What Is Shadow IT and Is It a Problem?

Shadow IT are IT initiatives that are handled outside of the IT’s department control and knowledge. When business functions feel like they don’t have access to the tech they need, they may resort to Shadow IT and either take it upon themselves or outside consultants to implement solutions. This can, however, create a huge cybersecurity risk for your organization. Without approval from IT, application work can run rampant and unchecked, may not meet the requirements of your architecture, create further data silos, and put you in an unfavorable position for audits (which is not good, especially if you want to go public).

While not fulfilling Marketing’s needs is problematic, throwing bodies (or, in this case, solutions) at the issue isn’t fixing it either.

Benefits of a CMO/CIO Partnership

One way to mitigate the negative effects of Shadow IT is to build a strong partnership between your CMO and CIO. Both roles are extremely important, each managing vital parts of the organization for marketing efficiency and tech strategy, respectively. Forming a bond between the two roles promotes cross-functional alignment, visibility and cooperation – and can alleviate marketers’ growing pains and ensure that their tech stack is efficient.

Five Steps to Building a Strong Partnership Between Your CMO and CIO

To ensure success, here are some steps you can take as the CMO/CIO relationship unfolds:

1. Define Roles and Responsibilities

These need to be established at the very beginning of your relationship. By determining each department’s authority, you can avoid overlapping data and processes. This will improve CX and allow your company to focus on building growth and loyalty.

2. Align Goals and Strategies

The goal of your CMO is to drive revenue. Today, the role of the CIO is leaning more towards Business Technology than traditional IT. When IT focuses on the business as a whole, they can implement technologies and processes that have strong ROI and meet objectives. In aligning these goals, they can encourage your organization to be more efficient with their tools, processes and technologies to help drive revenue.

3. Streamline Tasks and Processes

Having data visibility across departments will alleviate the pain of complex work. Your Biz Tech/IT team and your Marketing team can collaborate to ensure operational processes are streamlined for revenue. This provides a seamless experience for your customer and cuts down on duplicate, manual or disconnected tasks.

4. Invest in an Automation Platform

Adopting an automation platform can benefit both your Biz Tech/IT and Marketing teams. You can integrate core systems in a unified platform and automate the processes between them so functions can focus on providing a consistent customer experience (via efficient employee ops).

With a low-code/no-code tool, you can empower everyone in your organization from business users with little technical experience to developers by removing tedious infrastructure tasks required in app development. That way, your Marketing team can automate their own work without having to wait for IT’s help and IT can focus on more complex, value-added tasks like maintaining network infrastructure and making sure your data stays secure.

5. Create a Team That Specializes in App Coordination

Karl Mosgofian, CIO of Gainsight, a company that embraces Shadow IT, created an applications coordination team at his organization with representatives from functional departments to jointly address their systems, apps and associated challenges with input from admins and end users. By collaborating, these teams can leverage common tools and forge long-term plans for success. 

In other words, this team helps keep goals aligned and it is because of that alignment that Shadow IT can function at an organization to get things done at a rate that satisfies both stakeholder and Biz Tech leader.

How a CMO/CIO Partnership Personalizes the Human Experience

The influx of tech can force business functions to choose quick solutions.  Marketing teams are resorting to Shadow IT to be able to keep up with their revenue processes and customer expectations. As a result, the delineation between CMOs and CIOs is becoming harder to distinguish. Creating a strong bond between these two roles can provide a clear and efficient revenue strategy for your organization. By taking time to define roles, align goals, build efficient processes and invest in an automation platform, the bond between your CMO and CIO can foster workplace efficiency, provide a seamless experience for your customer, and drive revenue based on the new value perceived by both employees and the customers they serve.

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Mary Hodges
About Mary Hodges

Mary previously worked in IT recruiting and is thrilled to bring her community building skills to the business systems community.