CIOs and the Big Data Challenge

catThe trend is clear: The CIO’s IT budget is getting smaller and the CMO’s IT budget is getting larger. As a result, the CIO’s role is diminishing and the CMO’s role is expanding. From a business perspective, the shift feels inevitable. Despite talk about transforming corporate IT organizations from cost centers into profit centers, the role of the CIO has remained largely administrative.

In their hearts, most CIOs know the score. They’ve won their battle to earn “a seat at the table,” but the table has gotten smaller. The main challenges ahead of them are technical, not strategic. Their key areas of focus today are mobility, cloud, and security. They are aware of big data, but it’s just not a survival issue for them.

That doesn’t mean that CIOs don’t care, it just means that most of them don’t have the bandwidth to deal with the challenges of big data. The CIOs I interviewed in my newest report do not constitute a representative sample of the CIO community. My sources tend to be people who are keenly and genuinely interested in the convergence of big data, statistical analysis, behavioral science, and marketing. That makes them outliers. I love interviewing them, but I don’t believe they speak for the majority of CIOs.

That said, I think the new report will be valuable to anyone who is considering making a move from IT into marketing. The marketing team will welcome people with technical chops who also understand how business works.

I honestly don’t see the shift of dollars as a “win-lose” or “zero-sum” game. It’s all for the good. Big data is rapidly becoming the life blood of marketing, and marketing drives revenue. As Ben Bradley said, “Follow the money.”

Download The Changing Role of the CIO for free.

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  • ckwrites2

    Hi Mike – am seriously confused by your write-up. Perhaps your intention was just to provide a broader context?

    I downloaded the book (thnx) read it, searched it and the word CMO doesn’t even appear. Though clearly related (Big Data, IT) the book is about something completely different. And a great read.

    • mike7pilot

      Your point is well taken! I wrote the blog post several weeks after completing the white paper, and a couple of new thoughts had crossed my mind in the period of time between the paper and the blog. Thanks for reading both, and thanks for your comment! Cheers!

      • ckwrites2

        Hi Mike – yes this is a very fertile topic – especially with the kinds of people you interview. What actually drew me were your comments about the CIO to CMO shift which is of interest to my readers. Are you planning another whitepaper or is there more on that aspect of the topic that you can point me at?

        • mike7pilot

          IBM published a white paper last year, or maybe the year before, in which they predicted the rise of the CMO and decline of the CIO, at least in terms of IT budget. It’s probably still on the IBM web site. Let me know if you can’t find it and I’ll email you a copy. Cheers!