news Chief marketing officers are increasingly making technology decisions for their organisations, according to a new study published today by technology analyst firm Telsyte.
Telsyte’s Australian & New Zealand Digital Marketer Study 2015 surveyed 255 chief marketing officers and marketing leaders in large organisations. It found that almost all (91 percent) are making purchasing decisions on technology products and services for their requirements. Furthermore, more than half of organisations surveyed indicated that the marketing department has a dedicated IT budget.
According to the firm, this rapid change in the role of the CMO has been driven by the digital transformation imperative in Australian and New Zealand organisations, the widespread availability and acceptance of cloud-based software and computing, and the elevation of the CMO as the custodian of big data and insights functions.
“Marketing’s transformation has moved on from just buying digital advertising to building scalable approaches that provide a single view of the customer, support meaningful measurement, and enable real-time decision-making,” said Telsyte analyst Steven Noble in a statement. Telsyte has produced an extensive 70-page report on the issue.
Web analytics or split testing software is the most common purchase, with 39 per cent of marketers reporting their departments buy this class of software. Customer relationship management purchases were also very common, at 38 per cent. Furthermore, 36 per cent were using big data analytics for customer transaction analysis.
“Marketing measurement and customer-centricity are the left and right legs of digital transformation,” Noble Says. “This is why web analytics and CRM are the types of applications marketers are mostly likely to buy.”
According to the firm, marketing and IT leaders have conflicting perspectives on marketing technology.
Marketing departments are investing in IT because they need flexibility, according to 57 per cent of all marketers, and 70 per cent of marketers who mostly use their own budget to source IT. Meanwhile, 45 per cent of marketers said they were investing in IT because they knew more than the IT department about their own needs.
Marketers that buy their own IT claim they are more likely to have the technology products they need. A high 84 per cent of those that mostly use marketing’s own budget agree or strongly agree with “our marketing function has the technology it needs to be effective”, compared with 71 per cent of those who mostly use IT’s budget to buy IT.
Despite the fact that marketers are highly satisfied with their technology purchases, IT leaders are concerned.
In a separate Telsyte survey of 336 CIO and ICT leaders that have lines of business that purchase IT products and services, some 36 per cent say their organisations have experienced problems. The greatest problems were with integration requirements (cited by 36%), inconsistent technology selection (33%) and security (32%).
The results of this survey will not come as news to those in IT departments around Australia. It’s been going on for some time. Executives outside IT departments are increasingly purchasing point solutions such as CRM products for their own line of business, and asking that IT departments do a bit of integration work down the track. IT departments get a bit annoyed by the prospect. It’s all fairly well known at this point ;)
The real question is whether this is a problem for IT departments.
I suspect that some Australian technologists will see it as such — they will see it as a weakening of their control over IT budgets, a weakening of their position, and a weakening of their overall ability to do a good job for their organisation.
However, from my experience I think we’re also seeing a great deal of positivity around this. For a long, long time, Australian IT professionals have been frustrated by the fact that the rest of their organisation does not necessarily understand or appreciate what they do. The fact that some technology has become commoditised and specialised enough that it can be purchased by other line of business executives is actually great.
It will take some of the extreme burden off IT departments and allow IT staff to pursue projects which have a higher value to the business — generating revenues, for example, or creating efficiencies.
If there is one thing I have learnt over the past decade of technological change, it is that technological change is rarely negative in nature. Generally, it frees IT workers up to pursue higher-value things. IT staff are rarely in a position where they are no longer needed at all ;)