The traditional role of the chief information officer (CIO) has undergone major changes over the last few years, with the increasing importance of digital to all aspects of business meaning tech experts need to spread their wings and work in areas they may not have known much about in the past.

One fundamental aspect of this shift has been the need for CIOs to become more ‘customer-focused’, by analysing the data they can access to draw conclusions about how B2B or B2C consumers are behaving.

According to a new globally-focused report from American technology and consultancy firm IBM, a so-called ‘digital revolution’ has taken place across the business world.

With new technologies such as smartphones and tablets underlining the importance of digital channels, CIOs are being asked to step into the marketing arena to a hitherto unexpected degree.

“Most [executives] expect digital channels to become one of the most predominant means of engaging with customers in the next few years. More than half say their organisation already uses such channels, but nine out of ten anticipate doing so by 2018. And they’re looking to CIOs to facilitate the shift,” the report claimed.

Although CIOs in ‘out-performing’ enterprises tend to be ahead of the pack on these metrics, it appears to be trickling down to many global businesses as more firms attempt to take advantage of marketing technologies such as CRM.

Matthew Young, CIO of European hotel group Travelodge, told IBM that it is crucial firms place the customer at the centre of their decisions – this entails thinking along those lines organisationally, rather than simply leaving such issues to a dedicated marketing team.

This means utilising “customer consideration metrics” is a new focus for tech experts within companies, concluded Mr Young.

CRM, as well as collating information of this kind effectively, makes it easier for companies to showcase it across their different teams, potentially improving levels of innovation.