This Mi6 Round Up asks if there are cracks showing on LinkedIn and we share a recent report whether marketers are becoming better (or not) at email marketing. On the technology side of things we break the bad news that IT spending will be anemic until 2020 and surface the idea that learning to program in COBOL could be a good career move for developers. Finally, we look a bit deeper into the role of the CIO and CMO.

Mi6 Round Ups are published twice a month and feature summaries and opinion on select handpicked articles that caught our eye in the areas sales and marketing; technology and the c-suite.

Sales and Marketing

1) Are the Cracks Showing on LinkedIn?

LinkedIn continues to be an important social media platform for professionals, especially in the technology industry. All programs we implement for our clients include using LinkedIn to connect and engage with key stakeholder groups. LinkedIn is the most reliable online space you can use to find, connect and engage with people to build professional relationships, get a job and learn. It remains a powerful platform! But, some people are seeing cracks!

In “I Explain LinkedIn to a New Client. It Doesn’t Go Well.” Bruce Johnston [Twitter] shows clearly where there are cracks including some holes in LinkedIn’s advanced search. Apparently New Jersey doesn’t exist! Maybe that’s because the Boss (Bruce Springsteen) doesn’t have a LinkedIn account? Or maybe he does?

2) Marketers Getting Better at Email Marketing

I guess this is good news. According to the article “You’ve Come a Long Way, Email!” by Al Urbankski [Twitter] email marketers (in this case consumer focused) are becoming more effective and less spammy. Just three years ago, 95% of emails sent were rated by Return Path as SPAM. Overall this has improved but not enough in the technology industry!

In their 2015 Deliverability Benchmark Report only 45% of emails sent were making it into the inbox. In other words 55% of emails being sent by technology companies went missing or were flagged as SPAM. While this report is consumer based data it’s a potential wake up call for B2B Technology Marketers who should take a closer look at their inbox deliverability scores.

Technology

3) COBOL? We Don’t Need No Stinking COBOL!

In Paul Reuben’s [Twitter] article:  “Why it’s Time to Learn COBOL” developers interested in careers in the Financial Industry may want to develop their COBOL programming chops in order to increase their chances of getting good paying jobs at Banks and Insurance companies. COBOL is the programming language that’s behind many transactional systems in use today by financial institutions and while not an in-vogue programming language there will be continued demand for COBOL developers.

But, be warned! It’s most likely that COBOL developers will spend most of their time updating and fixing existing code and not creating new software. However, there will be a time when companies will move off of COBOL and transition to newer programming stacks so keep that in mind.

4) IT Spending Anemic Until 2020

Technology companies may as well get used to the fact that IT spending will remain sluggish until 2020. In “Slow growth ahead for IT spending, Gartner says” worldwide IT spending will total $3.46 trillion this year. I guess it depends on how you look at this though. The good news, that market is not retracting and companies plan to spend the same, if not a bit more, on IT in the coming years.

Does this mean that companies are going to slow down on new technology adoption and digital transformation? Nope, they’re budgeting for it but don’t have extra money to do it with. This means they’re re-allocating where they are spending money and delaying systems and hardware upgrades.

C-Suite

5) CMOs and CIOs Not Such an Odd Couple

In “Meet Tech’s (not so) Odd Couple” Dan Muse [Twitter] gives you a glimpse into CIO.com’s “State of the CIO 2016” research. In my mind this re-enforces the fact that if the CIO is not seen as a critical leader in the business then your company is pooched. This role touches everything in your business whether it be your customers, your department’s, your supply chain and ultimately your data.

Technology drives today’s companies whether other CxOs care to admit it or not. If you’re a marketing leader and you don’t have a strong relationship with your CIO begin building one because marketing and IT drive revenue, generate business intelligence and can be innovation engines. The key is for marketing and IT to be seen as key profit centers instead of the departments with the biggest budgets and costs to the business.

6) Are CIOs the Ideal Candidates for the CEO Role?

In Clint Boulton’s [Twitter] article: “Millennials want to be digital entrepreneurs, not CIOs” Meg Whitman from HPE and Marc Benioff paint a real rosy picture for CIOs. They talk about how CIOs are leading the digital transformation of their companies and that the path to the CEO office is through the CIO. But, before the CIO gets excited, s/he needs to make sure the IT department is packed with emerging leaders and talented team members. S/he needs to have a progressive IT department and environment  in order to attract younger technology professionals. Some of whom will grow, evolve and become key project leads, managers, directors and eventually the CIOs successor.

But, the challenge facing CIOs  is that young technology professionals aren’t interested in working in an IT department or becoming a CIO for that matter. Younger people are more interested in becoming digital entrepreneurs. Also, there are new CxO roles such as the Chief Digital Officer and Chief Analytics Officer that can threaten the strategic role of the CIO.

So maybe the picture isn’t as rosy as Meg and Marc painted.

Chris HerbertChris Herbert is the founder of Mi6. Mi6 is a B2B (Business to Business) marketing and business development agency dedicated to helping companies build their brands and develop commercial relationships. He is the founder of ProductCamp Toronto and the Hi-tech community Silicon Halton. He tweets under the handle @B2Bspecialist.