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Accenture-CMO-Perspectives-IT-Collaboration-July2014Last year, 44% of global CMOs surveyed by Accenture felt that there was no need for alignment with CIOs. This year’s Accenture study of the CMO-CIO relationship finds a rapprochement of sorts, with 83% of IT executives feeling a need to align and interact with marketing (up from 77% in 2012) and 69% of marketing executives feeling the same way about IT (up from 56% in 2012). But while many see the relationship improving, 45% of CMOs believe more collaboration is needed, and some problems persist.

Some positive developments from the CIO perspectives include:

  • 51% agreeing that their marketing employees understand technology (up from 48%); and
  • 41% agreeing that the marketing department does not provide adequate levels of business requirements, down from 46% in 2012.

But, some other perspectives are flat or moving in the opposite direction:

  • 54% agree that their CMO understands their company’s technology infrastructure and development process (versus 55% in 2012);
  • 49% agree that marketing teams do not understand the complexity of integrating new data sets, up a couple of points from 2012;
  • 43% agree that marketing requirements and priorities change too often for them to keep up, versus 40% in 2012; and
  • 42% (flat from 2012) agree that marketing teams cannot be trusted to operate technology as they tend not to have the skills.

From the CMO side of things, confidence tends to have declined:

  • 43% agree that the technology development process is too slow and not aligned to the speed of marketing, up from 36% in 2012;
  • 42% agree that they don’t feel they have control of the technology choices made by their IT counterparts, up from 32%;
  • 40% – up from 34% in 2012 – agree that they provide requirements to IT but what they get back always falls short of expectations; and
  • 38% agree that they would prefer to buy technology as a service and not rely as much on their IT team, versus 32% in 2012.

In fact, the results find a substantial difference in how the teams view their alignment: while 68% of IT executives agree that IT is a strategic partner for marketing, only 54% of CMOs concur.

In order to work better together, both groups indicate that the top priority is to have more people with marketing knowledge working in IT, with this more important to CIOs (50%) than CMOs (37%). Beyond that, the two groups also identify skills such as customer experience (42%), broad business understanding (42%) and customer insight (40%) as being helpful for better partnerships.

As for the main reason for more CMO-CIO alignment? Digital, according to both groups: the leading reason among CMOs is that marketing is more about digital now, which requires more technology; while the leading reason among CIOs is that technology is more available and can be applied to marketing in new ways.

Digital presents opportunities – and the proportion of CMOs (54%) and CIOs (64%) who feel prepared to pursue the opportunities presented by digital marketing channels has improved. But digital also comes with its own challenges. Presented with 11 options for why they feel unprepared, fully one-quarter of CIOs reported that marketing lacks the vision for anticipating new channels, a significant 11-point increase from 2012. For their part, 20% of CMOs agreed, also a significant jump from 2012 (11%).

But there are some encouraging signs: only 20% of CMOs and 21% of CIOs cited a lack of support from senior management (each down from 37%), and fewer indicated that they have insufficient funding for digital marketing channels.

Accenture suggests the following “imperatives” for CMOs to better align with CIOs:

  • “Invest time in establishing a vision and collaborate with IT to bring it to life;”
  • “Unify around the customer experience to create a truly digital business;”
  • “Rethink the operating model to integrate customer-focused skills throughout the company;” and
  • “Orient the marketing model and budget to align with a new ecosystem of marketing services.”

About the Data: The 2013/14 CMO-CIO Alignment survey is the fourth in a series of studies sponsored by Accenture and aimed at understanding the opinions, challenges and points of view of senior marketing and IT executives on the impact of digital strategies and capabilities on their business. The survey was in the field from November 2013 to January 2014. It received responses from 581 senior marketing executives and 566 senior IT executives from 11 countries and 10 industries. Respondents were fairly evenly split between North America (33%), Europe, Africa and Latin America (35%) and Asia-Pacific (32%).

90% come from companies with at least $1 billion in annual revenue. 35% are B2B; 28% B2C; and the remaining 37% B2B2C.

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