The data breach crisis engulfing extramarital affairs website Ashley Madison is a stark lesson in the failure of a chief marketing officer and chief information officer to communicate, a conference in Singapore has heard.
Senior Forrester Research executive, Dane Anderson, said too many CMOs and CIOs still have contrasting objectives when they should be working hand in hand.
Mumbrella Asia reports Anderson also warned the failure to collaborate risks undermining businesses as they strive to become more digitally astute.
Anderson cited Ashley Madison as having “slick marketing” but said the apparent absence of communication between the CMO and CIO ultimately led to the security breach which saw the site hacked and the details of 37m customers stolen.
“There was a focus on marketing, and they had slick marketing….but they have not maintained the privacy and security of customers and it is likely to sink them,” he told delegates. “It is an example of when the two sides don’t talk and an example of when marketing and strategy is not enough.”
Anderson said research has found 50 per cent of CMOs and CIOs still follow separate agendas, when they should be bringing their respective skills to developing what he descrbed as a “business technology strategy”.
“Unfortunately, for many organisations this relationship is strained,” he said.
Anderson described the CMO as the “brand champion” who should bring their customer expertise and knowledge to the table, while the CIO should bring their skills in generating growth and profit and their deep understanding of technology and data.
He told the conference that investment in technology should shift from internal IT systems to “business technology that will help the CMO and CIO succeed in the age of the customer”.
A business technology agenda was about “systems, processes and technology which help win, serve and retain the customer”, he said.
But Anderson, Forrester’s president, research director and regional manager, said too few firms have a digital business strategy – even though they think they do.
Neither do firms truly understand the customer, he said.
“Time and time again, with the research that we do, we’re finding companies are letting themselves off the hook too quickly,” he said.
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