Why Digital Managers are building their own IT fiefdoms

As Digital gathers momentum and as business now looks to better harness more digital opportunities around use / leveraging value of data, new platforms and ever expanding marketing channels, Digital practitioners now must be technologists, content gurus & marketers. Labor shortages are compounding the issue. But what does IT do in this new landscape and environment?

From our extensive experience in working client side on implementation and delivery of digital transformation and business improvement projects, IT struggles to keep up with the pace and demands CMOs, Marketing Directors and Boards are placing on the IT function.

Traditionally, IT were the custodians of all things software, hardware, communications (phone systems, internet, network etc) and support. Late 1990’s saw this change.  IT grew to encompass bespoke, customised business applications, web and enterprise architecture.

Where does marketing and IT’s functional mandate start and end?

Does IT’s mandate/charter need to change to stem the tide of conflict and enable business to delivery on Digital projects?

Two years ago Gartner predicted that by 2017, “a company’s Chief Marketing Officer would be spending more [budget] on technology than its Chief Information Officer…” This prediction has unquestionably come to fruition.

As marketing and more and more businesses look to digitalise, not just in channel but also in process, those in charge of Digital (be they Marketing or in their own respective function) are increasingly dependent upon technologists to deliver and control digital platforms. The real question comes back down to, who controls these digital platforms? According to Gartner, 67 per cent of marketing functions are planning to “increase their spending on technology-related activities over the next two years.

This raises yet another point – where does one procure staff that have competencies and skill sets that enable them to be proficient across IT, software/application development & marketing? Do our current educators (be they universities, colleges and association groups) have the vision and capacity to offer up such training and professional development to keep up to speed with demands across the industry for this new breed of skills?

Only skilled professionals with these competencies are then able to provide business with the ‘glue’ to bridge the void growing between The Executive and IT. They also can be valuable in working across other stakeholder/functional groups, including:

  • Other senior marketing executives educate senior executives on the  use of leading tools for their campaigns, making them more effective and efficient. Also, such interactions can also aid and assist in ensuring digital marketing strategies take advantage of new and emerging technologies;
  • The CIO and the IT department better equipped to prioritise technology requests from marketing and in so doing help IT manage existing resources, budgets and timeframes around delivery;
  • External service providers work closer with providers’ both at a strategic and technical level to meet with marketing’s needs.
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