CMO and CIO partnership vital for the success of a collaborative ecosystem: Infosys study

Nearly 44% of top-tier companies expect a collaborative CMO-CIO relationship to boost profitability by 5% or more, according to an Infosys study

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Infosys unveiled its market study titled, ‘CMO and C-Suite: The DNA of Partnership.’ This latest research by the Infosys Knowledge Institute focuses on how the pandemic has influenced CMO and CIO roles to converge and digitally transform multiple dimensions within an enterprise. The survey revealed that a CMO’s people-centered skill set and CIO’s insights into enterprise IT systems are vital to the success of this new collaborative ecosystem.


The research identifies both current and future initiatives that can serve as a guide for CMOs and CIOs in their endeavor to build adaptability and resilience within their organizations. In the era of pervasive data intelligence, data is becoming more dynamic and transformative. The COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call, and enterprises have begun to embrace the opportunities presented by digital technologies to survive and thrive in this new normal.

Two of the core business disciplines are at the forefront of this digital transformation: IT and Marketing. The pandemic has accelerated the need for marketing and IT teams to interconnect and radically transform the business. The CMO-CIO collaboration will serve as a force multiplier to drive revenue and digital maturity while evolving the organizational DNA in this digital age.

Sumit Virmani, CMO at Infosys said: “As the marketing spend on digital channels continues to grow in this new normal, human experience has taken center stage across businesses. The pandemic has not only altered the way engagement is viewed across every touchpoint, it has also accelerated digital transformation, creating a need for relevant and personalized experiences. Now is the time, more than ever, for CMOs and CIOs to collaborate to deliver tangible business outcomes. When the dust settles, companies that will emerge stronger will be the ones where the marketing and technology functions took joint ownership to drive digital transformation and engage customers in a meaningful way.”


For this study, Infosys surveyed 970 business leaders and interviewed CIOs and CMOs to get insights into the crisis-induced collaboration between the two departments, and to test the proposition of stakeholder capitalism as a viable path forward:

Key findings of the Infosys study:

A push for stakeholder capitalism: The drive to include stakeholder capitalism is clearly coming from the top as 83% of surveyed senior executives strongly agree that CMO-CIO collaboration can play a pivotal role in mapping and aligning business needs with stakeholder demands.


Evolving CX (customer experience) to HX (human experience): Although 51% of IT respondents believed the CMO role would be replaced altogether, this is not the twilight of the CMO — the role instead will evolve beyond CX to delivering HX.

Understanding collaboration and culture: IT demonstrated a higher rating in grasping the significance of collaboration between the departments to drive digital transformation across the enterprise (62% IT vs. 46% Marketing). IT and Marketing in tandem can plan and model the future, creating a culture that fosters collaboration in any situation, remote or in-person.

Weight on the ESG scale: CMOs must work with CIOs and the wider C-Suite to deliver on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and stakeholder capitalism strategy. CMOs are in a unique position to ensure the human experience is at the center of everything a company does. They are also well-placed to communicate the company’s social purpose to stakeholders


Collaboration for profitability: Nearly 44% of top-tier companies expect a collaborative CMO-CIO relationship to boost profitability by 5% or more. In comparison, only 20% of lowest-tier and 15% of middle-tier companies share these expectations.

Challenges in the shifting operating environment: Compared to IT, Marketing respondents identified agility (69% vs. 46%) and CX to HX evolution (58% vs. 35%) more critical.

Max Chan, chief information officer, Avnet commented: “During the pandemic, we learned just how quickly we could implement cloud technology and scale digital transformation. Now we need to make the most of that rapid scaling. We are working with the marketing team to align our digital strategy with our business strategy. One of the focuses is to redesign our digital customer journey. Instead of providing an alternate digital channel for our customers to interact with us, we are working with marketing to redesign our customer interaction by making digital as an integrated aspect of our end-to-end process.”