How to Improve Collaboration Between IT and Marketing

Posted by Dave Fisher on 01.10.17
Dave Fisher
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IT and Marketing are like young siblings at the dinner table. They depend on each other, but you wouldn’t know it from the way they bicker.Tensions between departments is nothing new, of course. What is new is the increasingly important role IT plays in business operations. No longer relegated to just security and maintenance tasks, IT now influences change at an organizational level. C-suite executives rely on IT to make the entire enterprise more competitive, and as IoT continues to spread through every aspect of our lives, their needs will continue to grow.

Likewise, Marketing is under more pressure than ever to produce quality leads for sales teams, which requires big data insights. IT is responsible for implementing the systems that allow marketing to track, monitor, and visualize critical data indicators. They also manage the automation and CRM tools that allow Marketing to perform at a high level.

Both departments rely on each other for a successful enterprise, and yet working together is a challenge. Accenture Interactive reports that less than one-quarter of people in marketing feel they have hit a good stride when it comes to collaborating with IT. Their survey also found that implementation issues related to marketing IT are causing friction, along with a reluctance on the marketing side to embrace change.

Communication Problems Between Marketing And IT

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Sometimes people just don't get along. We all have our own vision for how initiatives should be managed – that’s not going to change. However, there are ways IT and Marketing can realign their working relationship and collaborate on projects.  

Create A Stronger Relationship Between CIO and CMO

Marketing and IT are not as different as they once were. They both thrive on big data, and since marketing is mostly focused on digital, the two departments are working closer than ever before. 

When marketing and IT clash, it's often more of a result of culture than professional differences, and culture is influenced by people leading the teams. Enterprises can improve interdepartmental communication significantly just by promoting positive relationships between your CIO and CMO. Bring these executives into the same meetings, build collaboration into their job descriptions, and urge them to plot out mutual goals and strategies. When your CIO and CMO have a greater understanding of each other’s needs and challenges, their teams are more likely to work together.

Accountability And Shared Vision

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Establishing a shared vision across the entire organization is essential for getting everyone on the same page (refer also to "The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Thriving Intranet"). Business is moving at a breakneck pace today. Marketing needs IT to improve processes with new technology so they can help sales bring in new business. When IT helps them get real-time data and achieve better results, it removes walls between the two. Likewise, Marketing needs to understand how embracing new organizational process benefits everyone, even when these tech improvements are not directly related to their individual goals.

When your enterprise breaks down silos and gets people working as a team, it’s easier to see past their individual goals and support each other on company-wide initiatives.

Improved Collaboration Through Technology

Setting lofty priorities is one thing, but getting people to roll up their sleeves and work on a real project together is another matter.

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In addition to the SharePoint Intranet, Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based platform for improving document management and workflow efficiencies, offers apps that enable groups to work seamlessly across multiple projects.

Power BI – One area where IT and Marketing are sure to intersect is data visualization and business intelligence. Marketing relies on data from multiple sources– everything from email marketing, to social media, to website traffic and conversions. Power BI allows people to access and share data from one dashboard, where compelling visuals make it easy to gather insights needed for decision making. Slick, simple, and intuitive, this app is the perfect way to get vital KPIs to the marketing team. 

SharePoint Team Sites – One of the most powerful features of Office 365, SharePoint allows you to set up team websites where people can communicate, work on shared documents, and collaborate on a specific project.

Skype For Business – Skype is world’s most popular video conferencing program. The enterprise-grade software, Skype for Business, allows you to set up calls with as many as 250 people, even if they don’t have a Microsoft subscription.

OneDrive For Business – This app is a repository in the cloud where you can store and share files, as well as update them from any device. It also includes a feature that keeps your OneDrive for Business library and SharePoint libraries synced with your computer. 

Microsoft Teams – The newest addition to the Office 365 suite, Microsoft Teams is a chat-based social network groups can use as they work on projects together. It also integrates with other Office 365 tools like Skype, SharePoint and OneNote, giving people access to documents and conversations without ever leaving the app.

Lastly, praise is always appreciated. Give a Shout Out using the shout out app to recognize individuals for outstanding actions. 

Marketing and IT are cut from different cloths, but ever-increasing demands of speed and efficiency are pushing them closer together every day. By seeking ways to meld the two cultures, set mutual goals, and give them the tools for hands-on project collaboration, you will see a change in the office climate and, eventually, the bottom line.

And for those moments when conflict is unavoidable…just remember the other guy started it.

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Topics: Office 365

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