Is there a digital divide between the CIO and CMO? Indian CIOs respond with an emphatic 'no'.
Yes, you read it right. Dismissing the findings of the PwC 6th Annual Digital IQ survey, Indian CIOs vehemently deny the existence of a digital disconnect between the CIO and CMO.
The reaction is a stark contrast to the study which indicates that there is a palpable tension between the CIO and CMO when it comes to digital initiatives.
"I would have agreed to a divide on digital and social media drive, if this question was posted in 2009 or 2010. But not anymore. The divide is shrinking with the millennials making inroads into the job market, marketer's appreciating the reach of social and digital media and the simple push of IT folks for embracing it rather than shunning it," says Rajesh Batra, VP-IT at Kokilaben Dhirubai Ambani Hospital.
Identifying the reason for the gap Batra admits that the digital wave swept the Indian enterprises when they were not fully prepared for it.
Batra enjoys a strong working relationship with his CMO. "The relationship is working well. We have an outsourced model for most of the work and we have engaged a company to manage our social and digital media with oversight from all relevant stakeholders," he says.
If there is a digital divide between the CIO and CMO, the two executives can take steps to narrow the gap. "It is a two way lane. IT folks should be open to new experiences, handhold their marketing counterparts and educate them on the new paths. Similarly, a marketer should be open to treading an unknown territory," Batra says.
Girish Rao, head-IT and Business Analytics at Marico does not subscribe to the premise of the digital disconnect. "The key is to ensure that the CIO and the CMO remain tuned to leveraging the digital medium for meeting the end objectives. The need of the hour is to ensure that one helps the organization in creating a differentiated value proposition in the eyes of the customer," Rao says.
Rao suggests that the CIO and the CMO should see digital medium as a means to serve the customer better. Since the customer does not see the CMO nor the CIO it is the product / service that matters to the customer and the experience in engaging with it.
At Marico the relationship is quite healthy. There are structured meetings planned regularly for sharing of thoughts / ideas and to review the progress of on-going projects.
"I would rate the level of collaboration to be good, there is a lot of exchange and a mutual understanding as to whom to consult on various intersecting or common issues," Rao says.