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Mr. CIO meet Ms. CMO

Last week Deloitte announced it will be combining its “online” and its “digital” groups in May, “to challenge both the major systems integrators and digital media agencies to develop and deploy online, social, mobile and content solutions for clients” (as reported by itwire.com). This is on the heel of a Accenture making it known that it will focus resources on entering into the digital marketing space, as more and more digital marketing campaigns are “dependent on big data type coordination”.

These are simply indications of a larger phenomena that a chasm has grown inside of many firms between “enterprise IT” and “Innovative IT”. Enterprise IT is usually thought of as old, slow, costly, and commoditized, where “Innovative IT” is thought of as sexy, hot, fast, differentiated, and frankly…fun!

The interesting thing is that there is no debate who owns the enterprise IT, that beast is entrusted to the “top IT leader” in a company, most usually referred to as the Chief Information Officer, or CIO. Some really creative folks out there (including myself from time to time) have referred to this role as the Chief Innovation Officer in an attempt, through name alone, to ensure that top IT role (Mr. CIO) has a chance to shape information technology both in and outside of the box.

The reality however exists that IT professionals have been so successful that it (IT that is) has permeated everything and everywhere. Code named “digital” IT has been reinventing itself in the externally facing world of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Mrs. CMO, for the last decade has been nurturing her “digital marketing”/”e-business”/”social media” group. This in and of itself was a pretty nice arrangement, until 2 things occurred:

  1. Digital marketing started really getting very sophisticated requiring more and more integration.
  2. The world connected and IT started permeating products, connecting them to the broader network….creating a truly “connected consumer”

That connected world caused the tipping point where firms need to figure out what to do about this 2 IT world dilemma. As connected consumers become the norm for companies to market and interact with, and connected products draw the IT, marketing, and engineering worlds closer together, firm structure must be decisive in their organizational logic of how an innovation lifecycle must cut across these three groups AND how the organizations invest and support in IT for the best “connected consumer” experience possible.

Perhaps Mr. CIO and Mrs. CMO actually need to cozy up and create a new offspring the CITO – Chief Innovation Technology Officer, who has both camps interests in mind, but fill that whitespace between the two departments. No matter if sprung from marketing, engineering, IT, or shared amongst the three, firms that figure this whitespace the most quickly will have a better chance at evolving into the connected world, and ultimately returning much higher shareholder value.

Innovate, connect, grow…. No regrets,


(Note: Warren Ritchie, CGS’s Director of Growth Strategy & Architecture will be speaking on how to drive innovative IT while managing commoditized IT, this week in Singapore. Learn more here: http://www.terrapinn.com/2012/the-cio-show-asia/index.stm)