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Does the CIO Really Need to Control the Entire Tech Budget?

01/06/2017

Strategic IT Leaders Understand the Value of Partnering with Business Leaders

At Zylo, we have the opportunity to talk to CIOs and senior IT leaders every week. Their top priorities and their top challenges are similar across companies, including: supporting revenue growth, lowering IT costs, leading the shift to the cloud, maintaining the highest degree of security management and taking an active role developing the overall business strategy, just to name a few.

In addition to the ever growing list of priorities above, many of the most innovative IT leaders stress the importance of building partnerships with business leaders across the organization. The Marketing Department is usually at the top of the list—and for good reason. Most Marketing Departments spend about one-third of their budget on technology and in today’s market, there are over 3,500 technology solutions to evaluate. Almost anyone in the organization can purchase cloud-based subscriptions on their credit card, making it hard to keep track of all the applications in use across the department.

To Become a Leader: Spend Time Developing Relationships

According to the 2016 State of the CIO Survey:CIOs who do not have strong partnerships with business leaders may have less influence over how IT is ultimately deployed.” The majority of CIOs are involved in purchasing decisions about the marketing technology stack at some level, whether or not they control it directly. But when IT is considered a business partner or leader, CIOs are significantly more likely to be involved with approving the solution purchase (71%) and making the final vendor selection (64%) than in companies where IT is viewed as a cost center or service provider.”

IT and Marketing don’t always work well together, but uniting the department leaders with the common goals of improving the customer and brand experience to drive revenue growth is a good way to start on common ground. When it comes to cloud-based purchasing, IT and Marketing generally look for similar value in the technology they purchase—now the groups have to work together to drive the best outcome for the business. That means getting the right cloud applications to solve the problems at hand in a strategic (and always fast!) way. Having a positive relationship at the senior level will pave the way for collaboration.

IT Doesn’t Have to Own the Entire Budget to Drive Strategy

As you know, IT no longer owns the full technology budget—and that’s okay. What matters is that IT has full visibility into what’s being purchased, how it is being deployed and that they are involved in evaluating new technologies for the future across the organization. Easier said than done?

It’s worth taking the time to figure it out and break down the barriers with the Line of Business owners. IT leaders who can make that happen will be the most impactful and as a result, their companies will win in the marketplace. While it’s much more complicated than just checking these things off, IT leaders are in a position to set the tone and lead by example. Make 2017 the year that you and your teams take the time to embrace and lead the shift to the cloud happening across the organization:

  • Have an open-minded approach to the discovery and adoption of new technology
  • Empower your line of business owners to drive innovation forward to increase productivity
  • Use the corporate technology stack as a differentiator that allows IT to accelerate revenue growth
  • Lead the enterprise-wide cloud shift conversations by having full visibility into all cloud-based spend, utilization and sentiment

The Bottom Line? Developing Relationships has to be a Priority

Make it a priority to develop a relationship with your CMO first. Like any relationship, you get out of it what you put into it, and the result will be a mutually beneficial relationship that pushes the organization forward. Zylo’s enterprise cloud intelligence platform can serve as a bridge to bring the groups together.

Once you have full visibility into all cloud spend, utilization and sentiment, both teams can optimize their budgets and applications. Who knows, you might find out that marketers are pretty fun people to be around as well, even though I know I am biased!

Interested in learning more about how to be innovative with cloud software in your organization? Download Zylo’s ebook, “5 C-Suite Executives Weigh In On The Future Of The Subscription Economy” for insight from top SaaS leaders.

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