COO or CMO for CIO Partnership CiscoWith increasing demands and decreasing budgets, these are challenging times for many IT professionals. Some savvy IT people, however, are growing their budgets and improving their careers by forging partnerships with business groups who can benefit most from IT’s expertise, and are willing to help pay for it.

Which business groups are most likely to team with IT? Actually, we asked the same question in our recent Business and IT Priority Survey, which queried 1800 business leaders across many VP and CXO roles, including finance, marketing, sales, strategy, human resources, diversity, operations, manufacturing, business development, and more.

Based on this global data, Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) are great potential partners, because while their priorities often align with IT, their budgets may not:

  • 92% of CMOs said their priorities are completely or very aligned with IT’s.
  • 84% said their technology budgets will increase next year. In fact, 25% of CMOs expect budgets to grow more than 25%.
  • 81% said up to one half of their technology budget was spent outside of IT last year. This is a great opportunity to align cross-functional budgets with priorities.

By comparison, only 52% of Operations Managers said their priorities are aligned with IT’s, and less than half of them expect their technology budgets to grow next year. About 59% spent up to half their technology budgets outside of IT – which means they spend a bigger percentage of their technology budgets with IT currently than their CMO counterparts. Operations Managers are important partners as well, but start with the CMO. We’ll share ways to align with the Operations Managers and other key business leaders in subsequent blogs.

If you’re already working with the CMO to align budget priorities, then congratulations – you’re ahead of the pack and on your way to a promotion. If not, consider what happens when business groups spend technology budgets without your guidance.

To the extent that these technologies needs to integrate with the rest of your IT infrastructure (doesn’t everything?), you could potentially face many new challenges such as security, compliance, application performance, user experience, scalability, complexity and consistency.


Here’s a perfect example of a great IT and Marketing partnership in action. At MGM Resorts International, IT approached marketing with a proposal for an application that delivers personalized, interactive Wi-Fi services with the Cisco Connected Mobile Experiences solution. The result – a dramatically enhanced guest experience delivered by an enterprising IT group. 

One way to begin forging this partnership is to confirm that your IT priorities are aligned with those of your business leaders. You can see those priorities by taking 3 minutes to complete our Business and IT Priority Survey. At the end you’ll see the responses for business leaders in many industries, and you can use this intelligence to start a conversation with your CMO about marketing technology strategies, priorities, and budgets.

There are also some great suggestions in a blog by Sheryl Pattek, a Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst, called “CMO’s and CIO’s – the new C Suite Power Couple.”

Finally, if you’re an IT person who has already partnered successfully with one of your business counterparts to win more budget and deliver more business impact, leave a comment below, and we’ll share your story in one of our upcoming installments.

Read previous blogs on this topic here.


Marlowe Fenne

No Longer with Cisco