For the past 20+ years, there may have been no two positions in an organization more disconnected than marketing and technology.
Even as companies began to take on marketing automation and tools for email marketing, social media and other marketing activities, it wasn't at all uncommon for marketing to manage their tools while IT put their focus on other things.
For the most part IT made sure core business systems were running. From the server to the edge, it was the responsibility of a companies IT to make sure that peoples day-to-day applications like CRM, ERP and their basic email, word processing and phones all were up and running.
Of course this was at a time when companies owned everything. The software and hardware were company issued, and it was rare that anyone was using their own devices extensively to do their daily work. (See also: Blackberry)
Today that is all different. No longer are these two positions living in a vacuum only speaking when someone cannot get their email to load. Today the two are working together everyday as the tools and applications that drive marketing are being found in the cloud, on mobile devices and in pockets of an organization where the IT department has little to no awareness of their use.
Executives Jockey For Position
As the technology use case evolves, it has become almost impossible for the IT team to control the use of company assets let alone people's own devices.
Tools like Yammer evolved out of necessity as teams looked for simpler faster ways to collaborate. With sharing and document management often being a pain on a local device, many people turned to dropbox or other inexpensive free applications to manage their storage. Rarely taking any consideration to whether or not these applications were "IT Approved" or even private for that matter.
But with earnings and revenue taking precedent it was often that leadership turned a blind eye and responded only to what helps us drive results fastest? And if working off of an ipad on a rogue application made employees more productive then perhaps it isn't worth the energy to eradicate it?
The movement has now grown more feverish and with productivity and connectivity applications available widely via the cloud, companies are rethinking who controls technology and this is bringing question to who should have control.
If IT were to control it then the focus would be on policy, management, and systems, which is good for consistency but often preventative when it comes to expediency. Marketing however may be too likeliy to act with blinders on seeing only the path to faster bottom line results leaving them to break things and potentially create messes that IT will later have to clean up.
It is because of this that business IT leaders and Marketing leaders are coming to a head about where the future of technology lies. With tech being both critical and operational it would seem more important that the controls are in place, but there is an obvious shift that says control may not be possible if speed of change is a desired outcome?
The best solution may be collaboration, but with such vastly different views, you wonder if that is even possible. I mean, doesn't somebody have to have the final say?
A Trend That Impacts Businesses Large and Small
For most small companies, there may not be anyone walking around with the title of CMO or CIO. They may be Marketing Director or IT Manager or perhaps VP of Marketing and the Director of IT. Regardless of title, these two positions exists within most companies, but their purpose has changed infinitely form where they started.
With the role of the CIO today being more about technology enablement as cloud, BYOD and consumerization continue to drive disruption technology, it is more important than ever before that the power suite that drives a companies tech and marketing are working collaboratively.
Technology is no longer just the hardware and software that empowers a business. It serves as the epicenter of how we connect, communicate and collaborate. Integrated applications and workflow design are going to closely mirror customer acquisition and retention and it is because of this that the person(s) responsible for technology in the organization will need to be tied at the hip with those responsible for brand awareness, business development and of course revenue.
So will there be a winner in this race or will the intersection of technology and marketing be only as successful as the collaboration that takes place between those responsible for the infrastructure and those driving customer demand?
One thing is for sure, the silos have come down and in the future the way we use technology will be more impactful than ever before on who makes the decisions about the what, how and when it is adopted within the organization.