The C-suite can be a difficult place to achieve consensus and establish shared priorities, given that everyone there sees the enterprise through a different lens. What the CIO perceives as crucial to the company’s success might not be what the CFO wants to invest in, and what the CMO sees as a top priority might be at odds with the CIO . . . and so on.
When there is alignment and the lines of communication do open up, however, smart strategy is born. Recent research from Gartner suggests CMOs and CEOs may be moving in that direction.
Forward-thinking CMOs are investing time, money and resources into their digital strategy. Whether the goal is to improve efficiencies, glean insights by sifting through mountains of data, establish a presence on the platforms their customers prefer or a combination of all three (or more!), finding the right technology solution—and keeping eyes open for the next innovation—is the name of the game. It’s the only way to truly stay competitive, and from what I can see, more and more CMOs are willing to go to the mat to make technology solutions a top priority.
Fortunately, Gartner’s How CEOs Are Driving the Digital Business Imperative suggests CEOs are now recognizing the value of technology, as well. Here are a few key insights from the report:
- IT is growing in importance in the strategic priorities landscape. More than 40% of the CEOs and senior business executives surveyed included IT-related strategy as one of their top five priorities for 2014—that’s up 21% from 2013.
- CIOs must connect IT priorities to overall growth priorities. How can technology support company growth initiatives? It’s up to the CIO to crack the code—but CEOs and CIOs don’t necessarily agree on where the growth focus should lie. This is an area where CMOs could help establish a bridge and do a bit of translating –a shift that would benefit marketing, too.
- Digital business and product innovation are top investment priorities. More than half (51%) of the senior business executives surveyed said they plan to increase spending on IT. Other places where they plan to increase investments: digital capabilities (48%), research and development and innovation (47%) and product enhancements (43% increase).
- Digital marketing is at the top of the technology investment priorities over the next five years. CMOs rejoice! 38% indicated that digital marketing would be their main spend over the next half-decade. E-commerce and customer experience management came in second-place, tied at 34% –and that’s great news for CMOs, too, since customer experience is a key to business success.
- CEOs don’t always completely understand digital business. Are you and your CEO on the same page when you’re talking about “digital solutions?” It’s up to the CMO and CIO to decipher, educate, recommend . . . and to be ready with data to back up their words.
It’s gratifying to see more CEOs and senior business executives become digitally focused—especially when CMOs need top-rung support to evolve how they connect with customers via technology. It also seems as evident as ever, however, that CMOs will need to lead the charge so the rest of the C-suite can truly grasp all that digital business delivers. A unified C-suite can strategize, plan and spend most effectively.
To read the full report, head over to https://www.gartner.com/doc/2387015