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Is Your CIO the Next CMO?

Steveson.pngEric Lai’s recent post entitled “Your CMO May Be Your New CIO (And What That Means For Enterprise Mobility)” was a great read. During the same week it was published, I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Kimberly Stevenson, CIO of Intel, and I was tempted to consider the inverse: Is Your CIO the Next CMO?


One of the first things Stevenson said was that she believes her most important role is to be the voice of the customer. She spoke compellingly of major trends impacting all of us (cloud, consumerization of IT, big data, social computing, the need for / expectation of velocity, user experience). With bold examples and articulate arguments, she explained that “transforming the world” has become the new normal. “Disrupt, or become disrupted” was the choice she offered to the audience. She was a vivid story-teller.

She went on to say that transforming the world is the role, and in fact the mission, of IT professionals. “Organizations expect IT not only to keep pace with these expectations, but to be the enabler.”This all sounds quite “marketing-esque”.

C-suite musical chairs

Technology is a disrupter that is re-shaping virtually every industry.  If Gartner’s prediction is true, and the CMO is poised to spend more on technology than the CIO, perhaps a customer-centric, technology savvy CIO is well positioned to trade places with his or her Marketing counterpart. 

I was not the only one who was impressed with Stevenson’s presentation:


Stevenson, of course, IS a marketer for her company, which is as it should be. In a world where technology-enabled innovation creates competitive advantage, I think a strong CIO / CMO partnership and collaboration is actually the best way to get to the magic.

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  • Cory, appreciate the story-telling aspects you’ve brought to light here. And we definitely need to be the voice of the customer whenever possible. I think we are doing a better job at this at SAP. But still some work to do.

    • Hey Tim, thanks for the comment!  I agree, we’re heading in the right direction and it’s exciting to see what the combination of marketing creativity + technology can deliver.

      • It will also be exciting to see this combination of nerds + good social skills that you and Eric Lai are predicting, Cory.


        Business schools are already offering technology MBAs. Do you see these as breeding grounds for this new type of executive?

        • Hi Derek – thanks for weighing in!  I think that’s a great opportunity, although I often find myself wishing I had taken more technology courses during my business UNDER-grad. I suspect lots of new curriculums will evolve in the coming years. Exciting times. 

  • Another great example of a CIO doing CMO duties is our very own Oliver Bussmann. Cisco’s CTO Padmasree Warrior is another good example, as is Vishal Sikka.

    This obviously works better today if your company itself is a tech vendor. Still, the increasing use of top technologists as marketers seems to indicate that enterprise technology is never more important than before. And that IT, whatever Nicholas Carr says, is NOT dead.