Who should take the lead on big data in your organization? If you read much on the topic, you know there’s some debate around this question lately. Some of the articles I’ve come across include:
- Should the CIO or CMO take the lead on big data?
- Forrester CEO touts CIO-CMO collaboration
- There’s a disconnect between CMOs and the rest of the C-suite
As someone who has been a CIO and a CMO at different times in my career, I can see both sides of this issue. Honestly, though, if we’re going to make big data work, the CMO and CIO need to work closely together.
Every CEO is talking about the fact that the CMO will spend more on technology in the next five to ten years than the CIO. It makes sense because the analysis of customer data is an obvious starting point for big data in most organizations.
We are all focused on how to better serve customers, but who owns that relationship? Most often, the care and feeding of customers is the responsibility of marketing in partnership with sales. Any improvements in this area, however, will benefit the entire organization. Because of this truth, customer intelligence initiatives should be seen as an opportunity to show how big data and analytics can help the company.
Working together, the CIO and CMO have an opportunity to be trendsetters for the organization. The CMO is getting the attention right now because marketing is an obvious starting point for big data, but it doesn’t stop there.
If we make progress with big data in the marketing organization, how can we move in another direction next, based on that success? Maybe other parts of organization will be inspired to think about how to use big data as well: supply chain, optimizing distribution, process control, and so on. These areas don’t appear to be as sexy but they can be just as important to the business.
So, let’s stop arguing about who owns big data and ask instead: How can the organization make big data work for customers first? And then what areas could be addressed using big data next? If the C-suite and everyone else gets focused on those questions, success will follow.