One often overlooked aspect of digital disruption at large companies is the extent to which various departments have had to engage more with IT. No longer does it make sense to see IT workers as servants to the people who are doing "the real work" to build up an organization. In an interview with McKinsey Quarterly , Coca-Cola CIO Ed Steinke speaks of getting his staff and marketing more integrated. Here is an excerpt: McKinsey : How is the role of IT changing at Coca-Cola, and, with it, your role as CIO? Ed Steinike : IT and marketing are very close partners at Coca-Cola today—more so, I think, than at most other companies—and that’s the way it should be. Coke is spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on digital marketing, and that number will, no doubt, continue to rise. Almost all of that spending is IT-related. This development calls for a broader CIO role. It’s not enough to be an operational back-office CIO running the systems. It’s also not enough to be a process CIO reinventing the supply chain and transforming support functions. Important as those two roles are, they need to be complemented by what I call the revenue-generator CIO or business-level CIO. McKinsey : What were the beginnings of the strategic partnership between marketing and IT at Coca-Cola? Ed Steinike : Our marketers started to think more seriously about digital channels five years ago or so. As mobile adoption expanded, they started to build a direct connection with our customers by pushing mobile applications for social-media sites and our loyalty programs, such as My Coke Rewards. Marketing was driving a lot of it through its own advertising and digital agencies while IT, at the time, was struggling to be relevant. We were viewed as a back-office function, not as one of the strategic leaders and partners in our digital-marketing efforts. I believed we should be bringing ideas to marketing instead of marketing coming to us for creative solutions and more often than not getting the answer, “Sorry. We don’t have the people to do these things.” Our first step was simply to offer traditional operating, hosting, and security for the sites and platforms the agencies were building. We did that quite well and now have over 600 consumer sites hosted in one platform environment with great data protection. Read the full interview here .
Filed under: mckinsey quarterly, marketing, social media, information technology, consumer behavior, IT, social media advertising, coca-cola, CIO, engagment, social marketing, integration, Ed Steinke