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CMOs, IT Cost Optimization and Innovation

A Missing Ingredient in the Alignment of CMOs and CIOs

In her recent Forbes series on the CMO-CIO partnership, Kimberly Whitler interviewed leading organizations' CIOs and CMOs, spotlighting the impacts of that partnership (or the lack thereof) on whether or not organizations achieve their goals, and at what cost.

What is not discussed is the role of operational excellence and cost optimization-specifically technology asset optimization, whether IT assets or marketing technology assets-in funding innovation. As she noted, "Gartner, the world's leading information technology research and advisory company, famously prognosticated that CMOs will spend more on IT than CIOs by the year 2017."

With CMOs driving new investments in technology infrastructure, CIOs have new challenges in ensuring that IT costs are transparent, usage is metered and tracked, and savings are applied to fund increasing innovation, regardless of where the technology spend originates. Those organizations where CMOs and CIOs are "business-first" and aligned are strategically ready to outpace their competition. Funding potential innovation during a time of continued cost pressure is, however, a non-trivial challenge.

One way to fund innovation is through IT cost optimization. "Lights on" infrastructure-as-usual spending on IT assets can hide waste in plain sight, even in those organizations with a reputation for operational excellence. Some productive areas for waste reduction include:

  • Software license management. In an age of virtualized machines and Cloud software, it's easy for organizations to overspend on applications that are duplicated, underused, or not used at all. These costs go beyond over-paying for licenses-they extend to support, maintenance, and hosting for software that can be decommissioned with no negative impact on the organization.
  • Hardware asset management. It's no longer a simple matter of spreadsheet tracking to accurately identify and meter usage for hardware. In a modern enterprise, endpoints are as varied as servers (including virtualized and clustered machines), storage devices, desktops, mobile devices. Adding complexity: those employees and contractors who use their own devices within an IT estate. If, as Gartner stated, 5% to 10% of hardware costs can be cut through rationalization, hardware asset management provides a target-rich environment for funding innovation.
  • Outsourced IT infrastructure management. Many organizations outsource part or all of their IT infrastructure. While procurement and IT may have negotiated aggressive contracts with outsource vendors, the access and transparency needed to audit outsourced IT costs is often lacking. But the waste (and savings) can be significant-in some cases, in the millions of dollars.

As CMOs and CIOs seek alignment to help move their organizations forward, they should consider taking pragmatic action now on waste reduction. Through a 360 degree view of the technology infrastructure in both Marketing and IT, IT cost optimization scenarios can be modeled for their impact, and innovation can be funded.

In my role at Scalable Software, I see how our clients use software asset management tools, endpoint discovery and metering tools, and agentless Cloud-based asset management tools to wring waste out of IT infrastructure and free up resources for innovation.

FYI, Scalable has posted an online IT cost optimization calculator for modeling software licensing savings-no registration is needed to rough out some areas of potential savings. I hope some of the CMOs reading this article will take advantage of the chance to fund new approaches to their markets and their audiences by cutting waste, without cutting needed technologies and tools.

More Stories By Lori Witzel

Lori Witzel has provided marketing leadership for software and technology services organizations. Her new approaches to strategy and execution, with a focus on demand generation and operational excellence across all marketing disciplines has created positive response, results and success.

By applying lessons learned from the business analysis and software engineering communities, marketing operational excellence can be transformed, yielding a faster Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).