Why CMO’s and CIO’s Need Each Other

07/06/2015By Stefan Ciecierski
With businesses re-engineering themselves to adapt to the digital economy and make use of their real time, unstructured customer data, the CMO and CIO relationship has never been closer, says CEO Stefan Ciecierski.

There has been a lot written about the future relationship between a companies CMO and CIO.

In practice, although some companies are leading the way in how their organisations approach this challenge, a significant percentage of those that we work with are less worried about the future relationship and more concerned with how to get off the blocks in a sensible fashion.

The two departments can be driven by different objectives, the longstanding mantra of providing more for less rings in the ears of the CIO, while the CMO is engaged with the customer and wanting to understand the needs and trends but can’t access the data they need. Some CIO’s are not focused on the external customer, rather the internal one, with the internal demands sometimes taking precedence over the external ones.

The drive for change and collaboration has been somewhat sector specific (an example is the huge steps forward taken by retailers), but this is progressing and we are seeing the need for it across almost all sectors that are customer led.

Many companies are looking for external assistance and there are a wide range of consulting firms able to assist a business with its solution. However we believe the initial step must be taken internally to identify a common set of goals and fostering internal relationships before turning to outside help.

A lot has been said about the role of the Chief Data Officer being the answer, being able to take back and forth across a business and lead a team who are the glue bringing the two departments together. This is a strategy that is happening in some large scale businesses (more so in the U.S.A than in Europe currently) with the CDO or CDSO (Chief Data Science Officer) taking a lead in bringing together large feeds of unstructured data and creating a process that makes sense of it.

In this instance the Chief Data officer has two primary roles, to assist the business in making faster, more accurate decisions at a lower cost in addition to creating new products and data led applications for customers.

Again though, the success of the CDO will in part be based on his or her ability to build internal support from the CMO and CIO. Bringing them together to agree common goals and the framework for either internal development or to take the decision to look for external assistance is a very important part of a solution.

The fact is that successful businesses will find a process to get the CMO and CIO relationship working well and in a mutually supporting fashion, be it with the inclusion of a Data Science resource, an internal forum to establish mutual responsibilities and updated roles or through utilising external support and consultancy. In order to take control of this process though we would encourage all CMO and CIO’s to be proactive in their thinking and support of one another. Customer requirements are changing as is the amount of data available from which to get insight, make decisions and build products around. Companies who embrace this and invest in the right people and analysis will see transformation, drive their businesses forward and get full value from their CMO / CIO partnership.

Image attribute: The Financial Brand

About the author


Stefan Ciecierski

Chief Executive Officer

Stefan is CEO and Global Head of the psd Technology practice. His expertise covers digital, software, IT & cloud services, telecommunications, consumer electronics & semiconductors, IoT and Fintech. He has over 30 years’ experience in the recruitment industry, and has managed businesses in the UK, Europe and Asia.