The emergence of cloud platform services is facilitating the adoption of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models across multiple industries, and as a result, many marketing technology functions are now available as SaaS-based platforms in the cloud. This enables marketing departments to purchase software-based solutions without waiting for their technology departments to install and maintain them. It’s almost as simple as flipping a switch.
Today, marketing departments have more control over their decision-making processes than ever before. It makes sense, then, that CMOs are becoming more self-enabled and autonomous where critical technology-based decisions are concerned. By some forecasts, CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs in five years. It’s important that CMOs temper this power with balanced technical due diligence from their CIOs if they want to ensure strong, enterprise-wide information management. So, where can they start?
The decision to purchase a large cloud platform must be made carefully. As CMOs become the main drivers of these types of purchase decisions, they must also understand to some degree the broader picture of corporate data governance. Here are a few key questions every CMO needs to consider:
1. How will this SaaS platform interact with my other platforms?
It’s critical that separate application-focused platforms interact with one another. How will data flow from one application to the next? If it can’t, CMOs risk limiting the overall data-management capabilities of their companies.
2. How can I access and analyze data?
For big data to work, firms must be able to actually access data. This gives marketing the ability to mine that data, see how things are trending, and identify any problems—otherwise, firms risk operating blind. Few cloud platforms grant access to raw data.
3. Is my company’s data secure?
Where is your corporate data stored, anyway? What would happen if it were lost? What would happen if it were stolen? It’s important for CMOs to realize that if they are using Software as a Service, they’re also enabling Security as a Service. If a CMO makes the decision to use a particular platform, then it’s his or her responsibility to guard that data, too.
CIOs should understand that rapidly changing marketing technology platforms are essential if their companies are to remain competitive. While these technologies do have traditional IT challenges, it’s also important to factor in the overall customer experience. In addition, as marketing technology evolves toward SaaS, it’s important to seek new ways to apply the IT team’s talents. Here are some questions to ask:
1. Is my customer’s experience positive?
Through technology, corporations now have the capability to create a completely unified customer experience. Every aspect of a customer interaction can be tracked, measured, analyzed, and personalized.
Marketing is a critical component to each aspect of a customer’s experience, and building enterprise information systems that enable firms to evaluate that experience will drive a company’s success. CIOs must know and understand these customer touch points to ensure a simple and unified experience.
Getting different applications systems to talk to one another is a challenge. While this aspect of integration often falls to the CIO, it’s important to keep the overall customer experience in mind. This is, of course, a critical concern for the CMO—but should also be represented by the CIO.
2. How can I help optimize my customer conversion process?
Big data requires analytical people—the type that can often be found on technology teams. CIOs should create and build analytical teams that can help provide deep customer insights and reports. Cloud platforms can help reduce the need to manage data, allowing CIOs to devote more resources to data creation.
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