Strategic Finance

Intense competition seals CIO-CMO partnership

By Sandra Ng

Asian C-suite executives are investing in ICT to build a more secured IT infrastructure, address an increasingly complex IT+business environment and tackle talent shortage in an intensively competitive marketplace.

The increasing influence of Line of Business (LoB) is impacting CIOs and their IT departments. While not all companies have allowed, intentionally or otherwise, LoB to influence or procure technology investments, more CIOs are collaborating with LoB to improve the business outcomes of ICT projects.

This year, IDC has identified the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) community as the partner of choice and benefit for CIOs with mobility as the top technology spend category. Marketeers in Asia Pacific clearly understand that mobility is the online platform and customer engagement channel. Already more than one-fifth of the CMO respondents have direct IT budget and procurement authority in their organizations.

With the convergence of social media/business, mobility, business analytics and cloud, the power of CIO+CMO cannot be underestimated. Businesses and governments who are looking at finding innovative ideas to propel forward in a highly-competitive markets where economic growth is slowing and markets are becoming borderless, understand this and other CIO+LoB partnerships are critical.

IDC believes that the role of the CIO will not be eliminated anytime soon. The rising dependence on technology and the growing need for governance, compliance and regulations (GRC) in supporting and enabling business mean that ICT roles will still play a significant part in organizations. The challenge is in the ability of IT executives to deliver business value.

These are some of the key findings from the IDC Asia Pacific C-suite Barometer 2013, an annual C-level research conducted to understand business and technology priorities, concerns and challenges. This year, over 1,000 C-level executives and in-region decision makers participated.

Business+tech priorities across the region

Respondents identified their top business priorities as operational efficiency and productivity (22%); overall cost savings (20%) and market expansion (12%).

To increase operational efficiency and productivity, respondents say they are increasingly focusing on delivering automation from IT. Last year, businesses focused on finding new customers and reducing customer churn. This year, however, the emphasis is on white space opportunities.

This indicates the intense hunger to deliver growth and the challenge in achieving it, given that the Asian region had already experienced hyper/high growth over the last decade. The region has also begun to see one to three years of moderate/low growth.

Regional IT decision-making structures

IDC identified four categories of IT decision-making structures in the region:

" Transformational IT

" Federated or distributed IT

" IT center of excellence (or shared services)

" Centralized IT

With Transformational IT structures, the CIO or the organization (typically with the CEO as the executive sponsor) pushes to deliver business outcomes from the large majority of IT investments/projects. These CIOs/IT heads bring to live business ideas through the use of ICT.

Federated/distributed IT is the most complex of all the structures and it typically includes a group CIOs with country CIOs or a centralized IT department with IT resources also within the LoB/Business Unit (BU).

The IT center of excellence or shared service center is one where a center is dedicated to deliver IT resources. This is typically the most conservative of all IT structures and the charter is technical in nature.