Marketing and IT Coming together @ Digital Innovation

The pace of change gets exponentially faster, heaping more pressure on marketing and IT executives every year to do more with less. I have watched this become increasingly true in the insurance industry as traditional competitors blur in with retail brands, social networks, tech companies and other, more innovative and agile companies whose entrances into insurance would have been laughed at just a few short years ago.

At the same time the whole model is being turned digital. Make no mistake, if you work for an insurer without plans to digitalise their Target Operating Model for marketing, sales and service, you should start looking for a job now. It will not be too long before the operating results start to show the slide into oblivion.

The effect is that marketing an insurance company digitally, including the full customer sales and service journey, is becoming mandatory and the roles of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO) are changing.

Do you remember when all enterprise departments orbited around the “sun” of the IT department? Well, times have moved on. I heard the other day that the CIO of the Marriott hotel group now reports into the CMO, the rationale being that they experience higher business performance when marketing understands and drives technology rather than sniping at it. In others, the creation of Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) is often a simple reflection of leadership exasperation at business and IT not working in harmony.

"Do you remember when all enterprise departments orbited around the 'sun' of the IT department?"

One side-effect that is apparent to me in the creation of modern digital organisations is the simplification of IT architecture, whether in a new start-up or the transformation of an old corporate monolith. Marketing is not interested in the insurer’s legacy problems and increasingly are demanding simplified IT landscapes capable of being understood and driven from the business.

Recently Pega has been seeing a changing focus within decision criteria for major IT spending projects. Much more prevalent is the requirement to reduce product development lifecyles from months to days and even in some cases becoming virtual, as rules configure the right products for customers “on the fly” based on their specific needs.

Figures from consulting firm Gartner assert that IT spend by CMOs is growing rapidly and by 2017 will have surpassed that of the CIO as marketing drives agility and innovation. IT will be left in isolation to maintain the “legacy mess” and become increasingly isolated.

The message from Marketing to IT is clear: join us now in innovation, or we will take it away from you.