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CIOs and CMOs: Bridging the Big Data divide



Big Data is blazing into enterprises—but it’s not all smooth sailing. In one corner office, the CIO approaches Big Data as the master of IT analytics and business data. In another corner office, the CMO is anxious to leverage a self-service tool that promises unprecedented customer insight. We recently brought together representatives from the two corner offices for our webcast “CIOs and CMOs: Who’s biggest on Big Data?


Technology analyst Michael Krieger hosted the webcast, and put the situation in clear perspective. Big data vendors are appealing directly to the lines of business, “even perhaps more so to the marketing [department] and CMO than anywhere else, bypassing traditional IT departments,” Krieger said. “But how does it all come together integrating with existing IT-owned or managed databases, applications and middleware?”


Toby Redshaw, CEO of Kevington Advisors (and former CIO of American Express), joined the webcast to offer an IT perspective on Big Data, and Marlene Williamson, CMO of BigMachines, represented the marketing point of view. To get a better understanding of what’s behind the “Big Data divide,” Williamson offered her personal experience.


The heat is on CMOs to deliver results and tame the Big Data beast, as she sees it, but marketing hasn’t historically been a top priority for IT. “I’ve personally been in situations where you have a frank discussion with your CIO and say, ‘I know I’m not the cutest kid in the room here, but I’ve got to move.’ ” Williamson explained. “If you can’t help me, I’m going to go someplace where I can get some help. Consequently, that means outsourcing. It might ruffle some feathers, but … [if Big Data] is a top priority and IT is overloaded, as they often are, you do have to outsource.”


“If marketing does what they typically do,” Redshaw countered, “which is they do this by line of business, [then] the different business unit marketing people don’t really talk to each other that much and they go off and do it separately.” Redshaw likened the resulting duplicate efforts to a “Big Data blob of spaghetti, which sooner or later will be so corrupted and so dysfunctional that you’ll have to do a restart, which costs millions and millions of dollars and is competitively dangerous.”


So, how do the CIO and CMO reach a mutual understanding on Big Data? Tune into the webcast, as the experts cover topics including:


  • Do IT and marketing agree on what Big Data is? The benefits? The ROI?
  • Who’s pushing Big Data in the enterprise?
  • What are the hardest aspects of implementing a Big Data initiative?
  • Should Big Data, ultimately, be a partnership of IT and business units together?


Listen to the full discussion, “CIOs and CMOs: Who’s biggest on Big Data?” to get the big picture. And be sure to check out our previous webcasts, “CIOs and CFOs: Can this relationship be saved?” As well as “CIOs and CFOs: Does IT matter when you’ve got cloud and SaaS?


Related links:

Hear a CIO and CMO debate Big Data in the enterprise

The CIO’s game-changing skill: bridging IT and business data

Before a big data ‘solution,’ you need a strategy

What the business is saying when it says ‘cloud’

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About the Author


Alec Wagner is a longtime writer & editor, enterprise IT insider, and (generally) fearless digital nomad.

Jan 30-31, 2018
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