Corporations are always looking at their marketplaces and wondering how to increase revenues and reach customers, current and potential, in new ways. Increasingly, and for good reasons, they are looking to information technology to help them do this. The trends towards mobile devices, consumer technology and the generation of digital data support this.
CIOs correspondingly feel that they should be spending more time on helping the corporation grow its top line. A recent survey comparing the future desires to the current realities of how the average CIO spends their time revealed that CIOs want to spend 2.5x more time developing new go-to market strategies and technologies, almost 2x more time studying market trends for commercial opportunities, and 1.5x more time identifying opportunities for competitive differentiation. In many companies, the collaboration between CMOs, heads of sales, and CIOs, has never been as important as it is now. Collaboration between IT and both R&D and product marketing is increasing too as more products have digital components. The discussion at this roundtable focused on ways to jointly grow the top line, specifically focusing on such questions as:
- Where are you finding growth and how are you capturing it? Is it in new customers, existing customers, new markets or new products?
- How are the means of reaching customers with marketing messages changing?
- Now that we are a few years into it, how is the internet sales channel changing? Is the trajectory flattening or not? What is the general impact on other sales channels?
- How is IT embedded in products changing revenue streams, support, and customer relationships? How is it changing internal processes and organizations?
- What new IT-enabled services offerings or ways to collaborate with customers are you developing?
- What is the impact of social media? Is it generating customer-to-customer referrals?
- Are the trends we discussed in the spring around mobile apps and corporate app stores continuing to become more robust? Are they helping drive revenue?
- As technology, data and computing power become more and more pervasive, how are the organizational boundaries shifting to accommodate this? Is it a matter of better collaboration/partnering with IT, different boundaries or accountabilities, or both?
- How are downstream (i.e. customer-facing) value chains changing? Is “who does what to whom” becoming clearer because of the transparence information brings or more muddled because everyone can reach out to anyone?
- Can CIOs play a stronger role in using technology to monitor developments in the marketplace in areas such as pricing, popularity of products, innovations by rivals, ad effectiveness or trends in the social sphere? Might such efforts help spot trends early?