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CIOs have a new boss – customers: IBM

CIOs have a new boss – customers: IBM

Global survey says CIOs anticipate spending more time on activities that have traditionally fallen with the chief marketing officer.

As consumers engage more directly with businesses through mobile and social media, more than 60 per cent of CIOs will focus more heavily on improving the customer experience and getting closer to customers, according to a new report by IBM.

The report, entitled Moving from the Back Office to the Front Lines, is taken from IBM’s Global-Suite Study and is based on face-to-face conversations with more than 1,600 CIOs from 70 countries (including New Zealand) and 20 industries.

The research, conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, finds an overwhelming majority – more than 80 per cent of CIOs - are shifting their focus to the front office, where marketing, sales and service managers work directly with customers.

“They anticipate spending much more time on activities that have traditionally fallen with the CMO’s sphere such as customer experience management and business development,” the report states.

The study finds CIOs are investing in new technologies to gain deeper insights into customer data. These include sentiment mining and social network analysis to identify unique behavioural patterns and reliably predict critical trends.

Related:The newest C-suite member may not be an employee of your company But will have as much input into the business strategy as the rest of the executive team. So what does this mean for CIOs?

As customer engagement becomes a critical driver for CIOs, the study finds cloud computing has soared in importance with 64 per cent of CIO respondents including it as part of their major plans compared to 30 per cent five years ago.

Mobile solutions have also jumped in importance, with 84 per cent of CIOs naming these their top focus compared to 68 per cent in 2009.

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