Analyst: Financial services CIOs need not fear rising CMO


Predictions that the CMO will encroach on the CIO’s role in IT decision making will not apply to financial services, according to a Gartner analyst.

By 2017, Gartner predicts that most organisations’ CMO may have a bigger IT budget than the CIO. Despite this prediction, in the specific financial services vertical the CIO is in a different position. “There is some question about what will happen in financial services simply because IT is such an integral part of the product,” Andy Rowsell-Jones, Gartner CIO Research Analyst, said. “If you were a retailer or a manufacturer of beer or cars it might be a different story because it’s very consumer-facing.”

Regulation will prevent the CMO accessing too much of the IT budget, Rowsell-Jones said, and the technology that runs banks is so integral to the banking products that the CIO’s role will remain safe. Even in the event that the role is split – as happened recently with National Australia Bank (NAB) – the two technology roles will remain integral to the bank’s strategic decision making.

The IT function of financial services will form a more collaborative relationship with the CMO, according to Rowsell-Jones. This prediction is similar to IDC’s expectation that “the CMO and CIO will begin 2013 as functional peers and end the year as either friends or ‘frenemies’ and the CIO will become more actively involved with the CMO in all marketing automation decisions.”

“I’m not suggesting the CMO hasn’t got a role in the banks because they do, but it’s not quite as dominant as you see in other industries. IT is so critical to the product, it’s been around for so long, and it’s a highly regulated industry,” Rowsell-Jones said.

“From the CMO, IT guys and risk guys, everyone is an equal stakeholder in the decision making for the future,” he added. “If you read what the big banks are saying about their investments in infrastructure, it’s not to do with saving money, it’s to do with taking advantage of the market opportunity, and there is every likelihood that the ideas behind customer engagement will be created jointly.”

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