CIO CMO Partnership - The Modernized Technology Selection Process

One of the best places a CIO and CMO to collaborate is when selecting new technologies and capabilities. As I showed in my last post, 5 Tips On Starting a Killer CIO - CMO Relationship, developing proof of concepts and pilots around new vendor technologies is an important area for partnership - Marketing owns the business driver and often the funding, while IT typically has the process and skills to vet out vendor capabilities.

The process of technology selection in today's competitive world is a little different than the enterprise software selection process many IT departments understand. Put simply, the process has to be much shorter and bolder in order to meet the Marketing department's challenging goals and time lines. Often, the vendors under review are selling SaaS products that have targeted functionality versus the more broader enterprise software, so the selection and review process should reflect this paradigm.

Enterprise vs. Modern Technology Selection

The diagram above depicts how a shorter timeline can be accomplished. With enterprise software, vendor selection, POC, and Pilot phases are implemented sequentially. Since enterprise software is often a larger investment and introduces broad capabilities across a large number of people, the vendor selection process is usually detailed out to help differentiate capabilities, risks, legal, financial, and technical criteria between different vendor offerings.

In what I call a "Modernized Technology Selection", vendor selection is done with a bit of up front due diligence, but many tasks are accomplished while POCs and even during Pilots are in progress. Business users desire to get to POCs and Pilots quickly because they help flush out how the technology works and whether it will deliver desired capabilities. They expect vendor selection disciplines such as financial reviews, security details, technical assessments, and price negotiations to occur in parallel and staged based on the successful progress of the POC and Pilot. (See one of my older posts on Evaluating SaaS Vendors.)

Why the CIO and CMO Should Partner

Here's another view - IT better keep up. Marketing and other departments have sufficient skills to do some POC and Pilot work independently and without IT especially for SaaS products that don't need significant process or data integrations. So if IT isn't there as a partner, the selection is likely to happen without them.

But my suggestion to Marketing is, don't let this happen. The devil is in the details and technologists can help explain the boundaries of a software capability (what it can and cannot do). They can ask questions that might help introduce new and other options including options that may already exist in house. Finally, it is far more likely that some form of integration is needed, and technologists can help flush out these implementation details.


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