Big data is one of the hottest topics of conversation across the business world — and for good reason. From the marketing to IT to finance and all the way up to the C-suite, more and more companies recognize that the insights gained from big data, and then leveraged through analytics and applications, can have a big impact on revenue growth.

In fact, a new study by the CMO Council found CMOs and CIOs agree that getting a handle on big data could open up significant opportunities for differentiation and strengthening their market position — IF, that is, they can collaborate successfully on gathering and analyzing data from across the enterprise.

Some highlights from the study:

  • Wise big data stewardship is considered a “critical factor” in creating a enterprise-wide customer-centric culture, according to 40 percent of marketers and 51 percent of IT respondents
  • 52 percent of marketers and 45 percent of IT professionals believe functional silos block aggregation of data between their departments — making it difficult to keep the customer at the center of their plans and decisions
  • 62 percent of IT executives see marketing as their partner in making analytics a priority and cultivating data-driven decision making. However, IT wants marketing to approach them earlier in the process to collaborate on strategy, rather than limiting them to traditional tasks like platform selection and deployment.
  • For organizations where IT and marketing work hand-in-hand, areas of responsibility are easy to define: marketing sets the agenda for customer engagement (80 percent marketing and 80 percent of IT) and provides insights into customers and customer requirements (84 percent of marketing versus 65 percent of IT).
  • Conversely, IT should focus on collecting and delivering data to marketers, according to 65 percent of IT and 64 percent of marketers.

These are all valid points and underscore important goals, but how can CIOs and CMOs overcome obstacles to truly make the most of their data?

  • Get together. As IT moves from a dark corner at the back of the office to playing a vital role throughout the enterprise, the CMO must make a point of connecting with the CIO to talk about challenges and opportunities related to omnichannel marketing and improved customer engagement.
  • Get together, part two. CIOs need to keep CMOs informed on the latest technologies and methods to ensure the marketing organization stays on top of new trends and innovations.
  • Make it a habit. To make the relationship work, CIOs and CMOs need to make a habit of connecting, consulting and collaborating. When do we meet? Who is present at the meetings? What is discussed there? What are the key roles, and what do those roles bring to the table? What kinds of events bring the group together outside of a set schedule?
  • Agree on what success means. Before they can develop a truly customer-centric organization, CMOs and CIOs need to decide what that actually looks like. First, they need to agree on the goals they want to achieve. Then, they can choose the metrics they’ll use to gauge the success of their efforts.

Traditional corporate silos have often left CIOs and CMOs at cross-purposes, even though their roles now intersect at multiple points in the customer journey. However, by making collaboration a top priority, both marketing and IT can reap the benefits big data offers -and ultimately, that will benefit your existing customers and help you find new ones, as well.