November 26, 2013

First Comes Collaboration, Then Comes Innovation

The Chief Information Officer has a number of roles to play in any organization, but perhaps none are as important as enabling a company to innovate at light speed. As the success of other departments becomes increasingly reliant on technology, it is incumbent on CIOs to strategically empower marketing, finance, and sales organizations to excel as well. The CIO of the future will be the Chief Innovation Officer, not the Chief Information Officer, and this means that the need to collaborate successfully with other organizations outside of IT has never been higher.

Not all C-level execs are prepared for the kind of cross-department collaboration necessary to make rapid innovation a reality, however. In a follow-up survey to a 2011 study, Forbes and Forrester found that, out of 300 IT and marketing professionals, almost 70% of IT executives feel confident that they can articulate marketing’s priorities, while only 49% of marketers can say the same about IT. Another disconnect is the fact that only 19% of marketers think that CIOs are hiring staff with marketing experience, while 49% of CIOs say that they are hiring staff with marketing expertise.

These findings are consistent with an Accenture study previously highlighted on Digital Growth Insights, which found that only one in ten IT and marketing executives think that CMO and CIO collaboration is at the right level.

So how can CIOs ensure that they are equipping other departments with the tools they need to succeed? A recent Huffington Post piece highlighted Dell VP and Global CIO Andi Karaboutis. She has transformed Dell’s IT organization from a traditional infrastructure and security services to one that enables operational excellence and transformative innovation. Karaboutis stressed the importance of communication between the CIO and the CMO to ensure successful product innovation.

Karaboutis worked with her CMO to create a structured team that reports to both of them, allowing their roles to overlap and intersect on multiple levels. “By putting the technology in the hands of the business partners versus us trying to build all these models ourselves and have them give us requirements…it’s a great partnership.”

You can watch the full interview on the CXO Talk website, or in the embedded video below.