Taking the Big Data Journey

Big Data gets mixed reviews in a recent study conducted by the CMO Council.

Lisa Arthur, writing in Forbes, says the study indicates that CMOs and CIOs both agree that Big Data will be a key competitive differentiator and play a major role in implementing a more customer-centric business culture.

However, the study also shows they view Big Data as a problem. “In fact, 52 percent of marketers and 45 percent of IT professionals believe functional silos block aggregation of data from across the organization, making it difficult to truly achieve customer centricity,” writes Arthur.

But according to the CMO Council press release announcing the study, the two functions are more aligned than at odds with each other.

The study also reveals that the two functions are more aligned than many may think,” the Council states. “Some 41 percent of marketers and 39 percent of IT executives say they are aligned with one another, but both admit there are still challenges to executing priority projects. Regardless of any setbacks, both overwhelmingly agree that the relationship is critical, according to 85 percent of marketers and 85 percent of IT executives. Multiple areas of opportunity emerge where further alignment and collaboration will improve the organization’s ability to execute customer-centric programs. Marketing is looking for a strategic partner that will come to the table with initiatives to advance customer centricity (26 percent). Marketing also believes the greatest value in the relationship can manifest in the ability of the organization to better gather data from across the enterprise (63 percent). For their part, IT executives see marketing as their partner in advancing analytics and data-driven decision making throughout the organization (62 percent). However, IT would like marketing to approach them earlier in the process to collaborate more on strategy (62 percent) and not just platform selection and deployment.”

In her article, Arthur asks CMOs, “Isn’t it time for those silos to come down? Aren’t you ready to develop a strategic partnership with the CIO?” She then goes on to list a number of steps CMOs and CIOs can take to more fully realize the advantages of Big Data.

In today’s hectic business world, it’s nice to find her advising CMOs that because integrating marketing and data is a “BIG” job, they need to pace themselves. Counsels Arthur, “Blending data, customer interactions and processes across organizations is not a project . . . It’s a journey.”

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