Saturday, 31st July 2021
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Why C-suite alignment is necessary for smarter technology investment decisions

Recent data has shown that business and consumer digital adoption has jumped five years forward due to COVID-19. By Pieter Brinkman, Senior Director Technical Marketing, Sitecore.

Organisations that prioritised the shift towards digital technologies before the pandemic have adjusted quickly, with arguably less disruption to their business. At the same time, those who stagnated in the adoption of digital technologies were on the backfoot, urgently finding quick solutions for their needs. When it comes to marketing initiatives, this tactic could work in the short-term, but organisations will inevitably have to re-budget, rebuild and fund additional investments to fix problems which have arisen from having chosen less-than-ideal short-term solutions.


As martech platforms continue to develop, becoming broader and more technical to use, it adds further complexity to an already difficult decision for stakeholders when selecting what solutions the business needs for the future. With the plethora of marketing challenges that need to be addressed by the assistance of technology, there are two that stand out.

The first one is ‘Big Data’, which emerged from the need to know and store as much informationas possible about customers. This led to the second trend, which is using artificial intelligence (AI) to make better sense of massive amounts of data quickly and more easily. However, with new, more complex solutions built around these technologies, making them work for a business and assessing whether they’re worthwhile is not easy. It usually comes down to comparing their value and cost.

How can CIOs and CMOs find common ground?

The total cost of ownership (TCO) for the implementation of new platforms can be a huge burden for organisations. The added complexity, maintenance and technical debt are factors that can deter organisations from making key decisions on technology investment. In fact, according to Gartner, more than three-quarters of orgnaisations found the technology buying process complex or difficult. But is this really surprising?

As CMOs and CIOs have different priorities, implementing the right technology solution for the business has its challenges. For the CMO, the priority is to adopt the latest innovations as quickly as possible in order to stay ahead of the competition. However, this needs to align with the CIO’s focus on TCO in the long-term. The weight of these options is what drives a wedge between those key decision makers, creating a need to find common ground sooner.

This makes alignment between the C-suite even more essential, making the right decisions to help the marketing function to deliver competent strategies and hit KPIs, whilst also meeting the operational requirements needed for the CIO. They need to be aware and understand each other’s priorities, but the issue is how can this be achieved?

The CMO needs to be aware of the technical debt, integration points and architectures, while the CIO should be mindful of the business value and the need for fast time-to-market for implementations. However, this means that they both must have a better technical understanding of areas outside the scope of their work. So how do these executives find confluence across their potentially opposing goals and perspectives? How do they pick the right software in this ever-changing landscape where new technologies and innovations become available every day? The answer is to work with a trusted technical advisor.

How can trusted technical advisors assist in making the best decision for the business?

Trusted technical advisors act as mediators between the CMO and CIO – grasping the technical needs of the business while aligning that with the business goals of the C-suite executives. They have the technical experience and knowledge to help businesses make the right decision.

A trusted advisor can ensure the following four key things when selecting a new technology solution for the business:

· Identifying key business needs: By working closely with the CMO and the CIO, the technical advisor can identify what the essential requirements are and validate that the platform or technology can support them.

· Productivity assurance: These experts can ensure that the chosen solution will provide the company with the capability to deliver high-quality customer experiences cost-effectively today and in the future.

· Ensuring smooth application: Trusted advisors have the ability to verify the key development requirements by considering factors such as the technology stack, whether the architecture is capable of integrations, if documentation and training is available, and whether there is a developer community for resources and support as well as reliable, quality vendor support.

· Ensuring that the platform of choice is user friendly: They can assess whether a platform is easy and intuitive to use for end-users, considering factors such as whether an employee can do their job in one interface or will need to juggle multiple logins across multiple interfaces.

The role of technical advisors is also important as they work closely across multiple client teams—including developers and marketing practitioners— to make sure that options are aligned with the CIO and CMO needs for capabilities and ease of use.

In this market, technological innovation is a key competitive differentiator; any technological investment needs to benefit the organisations needs in the long term and this can be ensured through a meticulous decision-making process. Organisations with the capability to adopt a long-term approach where consolidation of technologies with more robust solutions may be a better fit today, will be able to get there faster with the help of technical advisors. Having an expert who can speak the language of both IT and marketing will ensure that the right technology is selected to drive business success for years to come.

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