Autumn planning: Is investing in IT a risk for marketing?
As we enter the Autumn, for many companies it's the time to develop 2015 budgets. For the marketing department the trend is towards more IT related projects. Either interesting investments like big-data or lead-nurturing, or the more mundane, such as replacing the customer database with one that may actually pass the next compliance audit.
But as we look forward into 2015, many of us will be concerned with the risks that our IT related investments will be late, over budget or the scope of deliverables will be decimated. In past organisations where I've worked, we've tacitly planned for an approx 25 percent overspend.
Why do we assume that they'll be troubled projects? What makes investing in IT a risk for marketing? Why does collaboration between marketing and IT fail to deliver? My research – collaboration with the IT department for new service product innovation – for the University of Manchester, suggests that many organisations struggle to deliver IT projects for marketing and new product development. This is supported by Accenture's recent CMO-CMI alignment study, which also highlights both the importance of IT for marketing, as well as the imperative for marketing to collaborate with IT to enable delivery.
It need not be like this. Academic research has long identified what are called 'interpretive barriers' to collaboration between functional departments like IT and marketing. And the tactics to mitigate these barriers. manufacturing organisations use these well proven tactics to ensure collaboration between departments for new product development. My research has found these are however not commonly understood in service organisations and inconsistently implemented. The opportunity is therefore to learn from other industries and research, to ensure that we plan for success, not failure.
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