slideshow backgroundslideshow background
“With the growth of digital channels, CIOs and CMOs are teaming up to leverage the new and different ways of engaging customers.”
Oliver Bussmann, group CIO of UBS
CIOs, CDOs and CMOs: New IT roles and responsibilities
Image: Laurent Burst
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Xing

CIOs, CDOs and CMOs: New IT roles and responsibilities

Kenny MacIver — May 2014
UBS CIO Oliver Bussmann explores how a new set of technology stakeholders is changing the dynamics of IT decision-making.

The role of the CIO has changed dramatically in recent years — but so too has the line-up of executives who influence the shape of IT projects, programs and budgets.

According to UBS group CIO Oliver Bussmann, there are now three clear levels of maturity in the IT leader’s role. “Typically as a functional CIO you are driving operational excellence, the shape of your infrastructure and the applications portfolio, your sourcing and partner strategy,” he says, highlighting the availability of various industry benchmarks for measuring that.

The second phase, he observes, is for the CIO to become part of business transformation, to sit at the management table with the rest of the business, mapping out business plans and turning those into IT roadmaps and investments.

But the third maturity level involves an active engagement with innovation — understanding the impact of new digital technologies and business models and sharing that knowledge with internal and external customers. Such innovation can then be injected into new products and business approaches, says Bussmann. “That’s a different strategic role for the CIO and the IT organization, and one that can drive a major impact on revenue, brand awareness and so on.”

If that sounds like the description of the role of a chief digital officer then it is intentional. “From my perspective this third role, as a strategic, innovative CIO, certainly encompasses that of a chief digital officer. You need a sound understanding of the existing IT landscape, a deep knowledge of the business’s core processes and also the ability to leverage what you learn outside the organization.” That might involve taking advantage of disruptive technologies — such as mobile, social, cloud or big data — and mapping those onto business opportunities, he says. And no one is in a better position to do that.

“The CIO and the IT organization is perfectly placed to have that end-to-end knowledge and then to team up with other players like the chief marketing officer (CMO) and line of business heads to drive through those changes,” says Bussmann.

That engagement with the CMO, or with marketing heads across UBS’s different lines of business, is particularly important, he says, given the influence many marketing leaders now have over IT spending.

“At both UBS and previously as CIO of [business application software company] SAP, I have built a very close relationship with the chief marketing officer. With the growth of digital channels, CIOs and CMOs are teaming up to leverage the new and different ways of approaching, attracting, interacting with and retaining customers.”

And that “totally different game plan” is inevitably impacting the priorities that determine marketing spend and IT spend, he highlights. “There is a new level of [marketing] sophistication out there that requires strong technology support. So that relationship is now critical.”
First published
May 2014
Share on LinkedIn
Share on Xing
Oliver Bussmann profile picture
About: Oliver Bussmann
Oliver Bussmann is a transformation CIO and pioneer of business-building social media strategies. Head of IT worldwide at UBS since 2013, he earlier created a revenue-generating IT organization at SAP, earning him awards as European CIO of the Year and Most Social CIO.

Your choice regarding cookies on this site

Our website uses cookies for analytical purposes and to give you the best possible experience.

Click on Accept to agree or Preferences to view and choose your cookie settings.

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer.

Some cookies are necessary in order to deliver the best user experience while others provide analytics or allow retargeting in order to display advertisements that are relevant to you.

For a full list of our cookies and how we use them, please visit our Cookie Policy

Essential Cookies

These cookies enable the website to function to the best of its ability and provide the best user experience for you. They can still be disabled via your browser settings.

Analytical Cookies

We use analytical cookies such as those used by Google Analytics to give us information about the way our users interact with - this helps us to make improvements to the site to enhance your experience.

For a full list of analytical cookies and how we use them, visit our Cookie Policy

Social Media Cookies

We use cookies that track visits from social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn - these cookies allow us to re-target users with relevant advertisements from

For a full list of social media cookies and how we use them, visit our Cookie Policy