Research & Advisory

Hidden Treasure – The CMO’s Budget in Retail


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Product Overview

Date of PublicationDecember 18, 2014
GeographyNorth America
FormatElectronic PDF

The structure of IT within the Retail enterprise has been undergoing a significant transformation over the past several years. No longer does the CIO have complete command and control over all things IT within the organization. Instead, other C-level employees are willing to commit budgets to get the IT they need to be agile and advance their agendas.  The greatest portion of this budget comes from the CMO.

This study quantifies that impact, shows the specific solution areas that must be marketed to the CMO and recommends tactics and go-to-market strategies for vendors to consider if they have a solution targets towards the CMO.  Finally we discuss the security ramifications if the relationship between the CMO and the IT department is not solid.

This is a must read report for vendors who sell any solutions in merchandising, order management, analytics and mobile from the store to online commerce.  There is extra budget to go after if you know where to look and how to approach.

There has been a great deal of talk about the impact of the CMO and other business unit heads on the spending on IT technology. To this point, however, no one has tried to quantify how much that impact is in retail and hospitality. Until now. This study gets down to the nitty gritty details on the impact that the CMO is having, how big that is, and specifically what types of systems are involved.

Our original hypothesis was that this influence was limited to a few solution areas within the firm. And while there are clearly pockets that are greater than others, we were surprised to learn from CIO’s that reach of the CMO for IT spend goes into far more traditional operational areas than we originally expected.

Overall the CMO has added an additional $7.5 Billion in IT spending this year over just the CIO budget, an amount that approaches the total spend each year for core POS solutions. This increased spend and access brings along a number of security risks and is sometimes hidden from the CIO. It is not the ideal way to operate, but it is happening.

This research looks at the changes in the balance of power within organizations, the changing role of the CIO, the solutions most impacted, the size of that impact, and potential pitfalls along the way for retailers.

Then for vendors, we highlight the different ways in which they need to approach retailers based on the types of solutions. The CIO and CMO have different motivations and budget realities to work with. The prudent vendor will understand this and plan their sales activity accordingly.

Table of Contents

Summary of Findings

Scope of Research

1.0 Budget for Retail 2018

1.1 Balance of Power
1.2 CMO – the Ways and Means

2.0 Next Generation Retail – The Numbers

2.1 Working Across The Aisles

3.0 Keeping Track of IT All

3.1 How We Work Together
3.2 Seeing Beyond the Horizon

4.0 Operations and Security

5.0 Problems To Watch Out For

5.1 Speaking the Same Language
5.2 He Who Holds The Budget
5.3 Targets and Ordinance
5.5 Front Line Employee Consideraion

6.0 Best Practices

6.1 Start Small, Assimilate Quickly
6.2 Fail Quickly, Innovate Continuously
6.3 Who Has The Lead
6.4 If You Lead, Will They Follow?


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Was this a survey or a paper?
A little of both. When it comes to this sort of impact study it is part art and science. We have several primary research studies behind the numbers. These are then extrapolated across segments and markets to provide overall sizing. We run this by key clients and other analysts for their insight and view as well before we release. So the cornerstone is detailed primary research data with CIOs meshed with numerous analysts with over 100 combined years of retail sizing experience to build the models.

Can I share this study in my company? 

It depends on the license you order.  The Single Use License cannot be shared.  However, Enterprise and Distributable Licenses can be shared with your company.

Can I quote this study in my presentations and press releases? In most cases this is fine but we ask that you run it by us first at Typically things shared in percentages (ie. this is 20% increase) then that is fine. Items in raw $$$ or units typically we will not allow to share. But we can work with you on this. We realize that you buy the research to use, so we can usually find a nice compromise that protects our IP and meets your needs.


Is more detail available beyond what is in the study?
Yes, indeed. We have an extremely detailed Retail WorldView IT Sizing model that allows us to look at over 300 technologies across every region of the world by segment. So we can customize the research output just for your needs. Simply contact us at ihl(at) or +1.615-591-2955

Can I get access to the analysts who wrote or partnered in the study?
Yes, one of the core differentiators of IHL Research Studies is that included in part of the price is up to 1 hour with the analyst to ask follow-up questions or dig further into any assumptions. This does not extend to getting more data, just better insight into how we arrived at the data and came to the conclusions from that data.

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