The relationship between Marketing and IT needs to be more collaborative and closer than ever before. Marketeers are increasingly driving the strategic direction of businesses, and progressive CIOs are proactively enabling that business strategy.
How come? It’s because technology has become so intuitive. We all have a much clearer view of the role technology can play in business. IT can enable great customer experiences through apps, marketing automation systems and so forth. Suppliers are talking direct to marketeers who are driving an increasing number of technology decisions. Cloud services and apps accelerate this trend as IT departments don’t need to be quite so involved. Just think of the number of people in your business using cloud storage (YouSendIt, Dropbox etc) and productivity apps (eg Evernote) without even talking to IT. It’s not what you would have expected only a few years ago.
We’ve just made a couple of IT investments, and the decision was made by me and my marketing team supported by IT. The dynamic between the supply side and demand side of businesses has really changed. (‘Supply side’ here means the capabilities supplied by IT, and ‘demand side’ refers to departments that require IT’s support.)
As a marketeer, I’m at the front end of the business. I want to see investments that deliver outcomes quickly. I understand some of the risks surrounding IT platforms, but I’m driven more by bringing in business and improving the customer experience. Our CIO is an enabler for my team, helping us reach our targets. CIOs are now a crucial part of the conversations that significantly enhance the customer experience, and they have fundamentally changed how businesses contact and communicate with their customers.
There’s been an impact for us as an IT supplier too. At O2 we’ve found that our solutions are helping to link up different divisions in organisations, as we work with HR, procurement, marketing, finance and CIOs. We are increasingly helping to join up the dots for them. We support retailers, the travel industry, the public sector – in fact any business that wants to interact with and serve its customers better – and we can do it because of our own experience of being a major IT supplier, as well as one of the UK’s top brands.