© 2018 George Schoenstein
As marketing increasingly takes the lead on advancing organizations’ digital transformation, they can only be successful by taking ownership of setting goals, communicating them, and closely following their progress. Use these four points to build a closer relationship between marketing and IT around shared objectives and watch your IT road map unfold without a hitch.
1. Hire the right marketing people
The relationship between marketing and IT can be aided by hiring the right people with the right skills…look for people with a good depth of marketing skill, who also understand how technology works. They should know how feasible a project is, and be able to see IT’s point of view if the tech team raises objections. Without having the right person to bridge the gap and act as a mediator between the two teams, marketing will think the world is possible, and blame IT when it can’t be done.
Once you have the right people in house, build the relationship with IT. If either marketing or IT team members aren’t in the office, schedule a time to meet in person to talk through and understand objectives. A major key to success is building personal relationships with each side and working to understand everyone’s end goals, personalities, work styles, and then finding a way to work together.
2. Make sure everyone knows why
Your written road map should cover marketing’s functional needs and the technology pieces that fit into it. This gives both marketing and IT a common view of the needs, the current technology, and the path to tomorrow’s software, infrastructure, and more.
It’s most important to define the outcomes, which are a huge part of digital transformation. Are you looking to improve productivity, nurture customer engagement, promote new services, or kick-off a completely new venture? The answer will structure the program and determine who is engaged in it.
From there, prioritize projects with IT at the table. Identify where technology fuels your marketing strategy and ask the IT team how to map them. What’s most important? What’s least important? What interrelates?
Agree to a longer-term road map, starting with 12 months, and then advancing to a two-year rolling time frame of what you see coming down the road. Plan everything from a financial standpoint, and work in lockstep with IT to realize the plan.
3. As the stakeholder, have a stake
When conferring with IT, don’t just send who’s available, send who has the best possible background to interface with the team. Marketing must understand that there’s a business imperative behind the project and it can’t simply be pushed down the chain of command.
If adopting new software is my idea, and I assign somebody on my team to run with it, and I don’t pay attention, there are consequences. They may not understand my original objectives and head down a path that will required significant time, effort, and cost to get back on track.
It all comes down to good governance. If you identify a problem, whether in communication, process or objective, there must be a good mechanism in place to escalate that issue to the right level and get an answer fast.
4. Keep everyone’s eyes on the road
At a minimum, marketing should hold monthly meetings with IT just to go over the road map and update each other on where everything stands. For a recent web project, we held weekly calls with IT that allowed us to ramp up the work and launch the project on time.
Part of the focus in setting a road map for digital transformation should always be ongoing course correction to make sure the outcome of the project is what it’s intended to be. With frequent, regular check-ins, you can quickly identify any misalignments and fix them before the intended outcomes get lost.