The CMO And The Cloud – Part 2

July 31, 2014 by Olivier Blanchard - 1 Comment

If you missed Part 1, you can get caught up here. The short of it is this: Thanks to the cloud, IT is changing, and with it, the way organizations operate is changing as well. Here are three general advantages of getting into cloud computing that are pretty much function-agnostic within a company:

1. Now that companies – large and small – no longer have to invest huge chunks of their cash into IT infrastructure, they are free to retask the portions of their financial resources once devoted to buying, integrating, maintaining and upgrading server ecosystems in other more mission-critical areas.

2. Not being tied down to whatever the company invested in a year ago (and in many too many years ago) means that organizations don’t need to be saddled with outdated and often obsolete technologies (including software). As competitiveness continues to increase, especially around the acquisition and analysis of data, the company that is quickest to adapt and evolve will have an advantage over the company that is still operating as it did a year ago, or five, or ten. Cloud computing allows a greater degree of velocity when it comes to adapting to new technologies.

3. Capacity on demand: Need more computing power for a power or project? No problem. Need less now that the company has settled into a growth plateau? No problem.

What I want to bring up in this post though is the way this can radically change the way CMOs can shape their marketing departments, especially in relation to data and software. For starters, Cloud computing isn’t just about machines and server space. It’s equally about software. Software as a service (SAAS) and the associated computing power on demand can allow marketing departments to equip themselves with a virtually unlimited menu of software tools that can help with data acquisition, market and customer data analysis, consumer targeting, brand and reputation management, crisis monitoring, campaign measurement, SEO management, mobile marketing, social marketing, social CRM, collaboration, digital listening and monitoring, community management, and so on. Most of it is turnkey and can be switched on and off at will, and at scale. The tactical possibilities are pretty much endless, and at a fraction of the cost that they would have been if the investment in tech infrastructure required to perform all of these tasks still had to be in-house.

Ever wondered how so many small startups could be so efficient in competing against large, established industry behemoths in their early years? “How did they do that?” By being nimble and adaptive when it came to building their computing toolkit. By working smarter. No more ball and chain. That’s a thing of the past.

As I said in Part 1, To avoid any chicken/egg confusion, the impetus is on Marketing (and other lines of business) to lead the way in regards to this transition into more organic collaboration. The reason is simple: IT being in a support role, it cannot be responsible for dictating the technology and operational needs of other departments. IT is there to help solve their problems and identify solutions. The specific needs and requirements have to come from the line of business. That is why technologically fluent CMOs are so important. Tech-savvy CMOs are the catalysts behind this next business evolution, and the companies that both promote and hire accordingly will fare a lot better than those who fail to either see the importance of this change in the role’s foundations or refuse to act in time.

IBM’s Eric Saint-Marc puts it in perspective for us:

If the embed doesn’t work, you can go watch the full interview here. (The interview is divided into bite-sized episodes, so you can segment your viewing as needed.)


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This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM’s Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

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