IBM CMO Study Highlights IT and Data Concerns

By | Jun 12, 2012

A recent IBM study of chief marketing officers (CMOs) suggests areas that midsize businesses may want to address in terms of the provision of IT services. The CMO study, part of a series of interviews with leading executives, polled 1,734 CMOs across 64 countries and 19 industries. Of particular note is the statistic that 71% of CMOs feel unprepared for the current data explosion, an issue that must also affect other members of the C-suite. Other areas of concern include social media (68%) and the increase in the number of channels and devices (63%), both of which change the game for businesses across the board.

The Role of Big Data

Big data is a growing issue for those interviewed in the IBM CMO study, with most highlighting the need for new tools to manage the huge volume of data generated. Within the next three to five years, CMOs plan to use more mobile applications, social media, CRM tools, and customer analytics to manage this data, and it's a scenario that is also likely for other business leaders. This has major implications for midsize businesses that may need to alter their IT needs to take account of these changes. CRM is one area where many businesses have tested the waters with cloud-based tools. However, it's increasingly likely that companies will use cloud-linked apps to manage tasks such as business intelligence gathering and the resulting analysis. Skilled IT professionals with experience managing and analyzing big data will therefore be in high demand, says a Midsize Insider article.

Areas of Concern

The study listed several other areas of concern, but a particular issue for midsize businesses is the general failure of businesses to make use of the data available through social media sites and web applications. The study showed that many businesses do not harness the rich online data available, relying instead on benchmarking and market research to inform strategic decisions. Only a few are using the data from blogs (26%), third-party reviews (42%), and consumer reviews (48%). Since these areas give important information on customer sentiment, this could be a costly mistake. With customers in the driving seat and having more access to the different facets of a company's presence and culture via social media and other tools, it's more important than ever for businesses to think about how these things are portrayed to customers. The implication? Businesses need to have people in place to address both the IT and human resources requirements of increased social presence and interaction.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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