Study Uncovers Executive-Level Mobile Web Conflict

Nathan Eddy is a contributor to eWeek and TechWeekEurope, covering cloud and BYOD

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Chief marketing officers and chief information officers are clashing over who will define businesses’ mobile web strategies, according to a Netbiscuits study

There is a battle brewing amongst executives over the way corporate mobile strategy gets decided, and chief marketing officers (CMOs), chief information officers (CIOs) and other C-level executives are driven by conflicting motivations across the business, according to a survey sponsored by Netbiscuits and conducted by Vanson Bourne.

The CMO’s determination to be the driving force in shaping mobile web strategy is leading them to be the aggressor in the battle with the CIO. More than half (51 percent) of CMOs believe that they should acquire more ownership of mobile strategy, and twice as many CIOs (18 percent) think that mobile web strategy should become more of a marketing function than CMOs, who think their technology counterparts should gain more ownership.

Common objectives

“Mobile web strategy must be based on clear, common business objectives with targets defined in both the CIO and CMO areas,” Daniel Weisbeck, CMO and COO of Netbiscuits, said in a statement. “The real battle to watch therefore is not between the CIO and the CMO, but whether a joint CMO-CIO approach or a dedicated-function approach provides the best mechanism to align customer-experience objectives with the technical challenges of delivering these goals. A successful combination of their approaches and motivations provides the real basis for an extremely strong mobile strategy.”

4G, Mobile, Smartphone © Digital Storm Shutterstock 2012The study indicated that while the CMO is focused on improving aspects of the customer experience, the CIO is much more aware of some of the technical challenges in delivering some of the CMO’s requirements.

For example, 53 percent of the CMO respondents cited “provide customers with more channels for interaction” as a critical factor, compared to just 35 percent of CIOs. Meanwhile, 44 percent of CMOs said “improving customer online engagement” was critical, ahead of CIOs at 29 percent. A whopping 86 percent of the CIO audience was more concerned with the bottom line revenue improvement from improving sales through mobile platforms.

The survey also found that CIOs are likely to be more gracious toward joint ownership of mobile web strategy. Other C-level executives agree (30 percent), but CMOs completely disagreed. Just 9 percent of CMOs said that dual ownership was desirable.

“CMOs understand that they have the most to gain from wrestling ownership from the CIO,” the report noted. “It enables them to gain greater control over some of the key performance indicators that are directly determined by customer experience on mobile platforms.”

Optimal approach

However, the report identified a number of areas in which both the CIO and CMO functions had clear advantages and disadvantages, which combined could create the optimal approach to developing a mobile web strategy.

The CIO’s focus on the technology layer and standardisation of the process, mixed with the CMO’s bias toward the customer experience is a perfect storm and therefore, creates a need for both disciplines to collaborate and come together.

The research asked a total of 300 CIOs, CMOs and other C-Level executives for their views on mobile web strategy in their organisations. All of the enterprises taking part in this survey were companies of more than 100 employees and 25 percent were organisations of more than 5,000 employees.

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Originally published on eWeek.