You're at a client workshop, everyone around the table, everyone aligning and card-sorting and so on. Then you're out in the hallway looking for coffee, and the IT guy pulls you aside and, sotto voce, says, "Well, we're perfectly aligned except on the part about what they want to do."
Or how many software-as-a-service vendors know that a pitch that ends with "no IT involvement necessary" means an easy sale?
I've been on both sides of the equation, and it's just a fact of life at many organizations that IT and marketing departments come from different mindsets and usually have very different goals and objectives. That makes it difficult to work together when you're actively thwarting each other's shot at a year-end bonus.
What it comes down to is a matter of speed versus control. Marketing is about speed to market, about being responsive to the market shifts, thinking in terms of campaign cycles, and doing experiments. On the flip side, IT is generally about reducing the number of systems, formalizing processes, reigning in rogue initiatives, and reducing operational costs over long time periods. So how can we make this into a workable system?
Much has been written (and many hands wrung) about aligning IT and the business, and there are plenty of big consultancies with balanced scorecards and what not, with entire practices around building alignment. IT, as it tends to do, has even developed industry frameworks for governance that are supposed to align themselves with the business. And still marketers grumble.
No matter what your approach, the first step is recognizing your differences, recognize they want to innovate too, and that it's an ongoing conversation. Here are some suggestions for how to get along and achieve goals:
Remember, getting the most out of IT involves more conversation than documents and more shared exploration than throwing stuff back and forth over the wall. With a bit of effort and ice-breaking (and maybe some drinks), it could turn into a valuable partnership for change rather than a drag on your efforts.
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As vice president of technology for Organic, Todd enhances Organic's technology delivery capabilities and develops leading-edge concepts and solutions that support diverse client needs. With deep expertise rooted in over 20 years of technology experience and a passion for reframing tough problems and building new models of action, Todd has helped leading brands successfully leverage new technologies.
Prior to joining Organic, Todd was a director at SapientNitro where he provided technical and client leadership to a portfolio of global CPG, non-profit, and financial clients. During his tenure at SapientNitro, he worked with clients on long- and short-term technical strategy, and mentored and managed end-of-delivery activities such as load testing and quality control. Previously, Todd was a director of engineering at Grow Network/McGraw-Hill and senior technology director at Avenue A-Razorfish.
Todd received his B.S. in Computer Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
March 19, 2014