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Enabling the right business structure for digital transformation

Nadia Cameron (CMO) | Sept. 18, 2015
Marketing and IT leaders debate their role in digital strategy and accountability and their impact on the customer.

"The timeframe we are looking to work to is much faster than IT's," said Scott-Branagan. "On the website, we're driving that through a very agile approach, with a scrum mentality. That is frustrating for our IT colleagues, who are used to have a clear roadmap of what's going to happen, what dates and times.

"It's a new world for all of us, and we don't have the perfect answer, but we're working through it to achieve clarity."

Wong said one solution is to have customer-led project ownership, such as CRM, sitting with line-of-business.

"I'm pushing hard back on the business because they're the stakeholders and sponsors," he said. "It would have been scary if we'd got technology in straight away and we were making decisions based on what fits our IT environment better, as opposed to what meets our business requirements."

It is IT's responsibility to make sure the platform is scalable, flexible and allows the business to grow. "But it's the business that are going to be using it," Wong said. "We've suffered from looking internally too much, or looking for something that fits our internal process, as opposed to stepping into the shoes of our education audiences and trying to understand what are they trying to do here and will the system meet that need."

Clarity is essential around job functions to achieve this kind of constructive collaboration, Scott-Branagan continued.

"When we were looking at a business case for marketing automation, we asked IT what role they'd like to play. They didn't really know, so they asked us to fit them in when we needed to," she said. "So we did and thought we were doing the right thing. But when it came to signing off the document to procure the solution, suddenly IT said we hadn't done this or that.

"People in IT didn't understand their role because they'd never had marketing driving and owning something like this, so they didn't know it was their place to step up when it came to certain things to do with technology, risk and compliance."

Scott-Branaghan's vision now is to work closely with IT to build in guiding principles around the roles and responsibilities.

"We come to the table and say 'the role of marketing is to define what solution is going to suit our needs and project manage the implementation. IT, your role is to help make sure the technical, compliance and risk requirements are met," she said. "We need to respect the wisdom IT has gained, and to respect some of the policies and procedures we sometimes what to leapfrog over.

"But as marketers, if we don't position ourselves as peers to the technology conversation, we're doing ourselves a disservice."


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