Does Technology Enable or Disable Your Marketing?


Having worked in Software as a Service over the last decade, much of its popularity comes from a company not having to work through its IT department. “As long as you don’t have to talk to our IT guys!“, is a mantra that I hear often, “They’re busy!“.

Each request is made through the internal process and subsequently met with 482 reasons why it can’t be done. Ironically, these are the same guys that really get annoyed when you look external for the solution!

It begs the question, is your IT department enabling your marketing efforts or is it disabling it? If you’re an IT Director, do you work each day to help your customers or do you simply deny them?

If either answer is the latter, it’s a disturbing trend that I believe is growing. More and more marketers I know are fed up with their IT department. At one business I worked at (which hosted dozens of web servers), we actually went out and purchased an external hosting package.

It’s time to change! Your IT department should be work with you to enable the technology necessary to run your business.

Here’s a great post from Hugh MacLeod on the topic:

Evil Bunny and the IT Department


  1. 1

    I had pleasure running technology and operations for several startups. Very rapidly growing startups with great marketing needs. If not for collaborative work between tech team, ops, marketing, and biz dev… well nothing would have happened.

    Collaboration needs to happen and RESOURCES need to be shared too. The reason so many in IT will give you so many negatives are as follows (at least in my experience):
    1. Most technology budgets are extremely tight. There is barely any room to breathe. You bring something else that will cost resources, but you FAIL to bring anything to the table but requests, you are not acting as a team and your greed is hurting the company. You want something – pay for it. Tech resources are not free.
    2. IT people are not idiots. If you treat them as such, they will reciprocate. Such is life. It is in the best interest of the company that you invest the time in making sure IT folks have complete understanding of what impact your projects have. Solicit input and you will receive collaboration.

    Business technology is core to the productivity and effectiveness of the employees. Treating it anything less than that is poor judgment.

    And lastly, technology projects that seem simple for non-techies are usually very hard to accomplish. And hard projects may have a very easy solution. Be collaborative with your team. If you choose to create silos, than you should expect the poor results.

    There should be one person from your IT in EVERY marketing meeting. That is what I always advocate.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Apolinaras “Apollo” Sinkevicius

    • 2

      Apollo, while I agree with all that you have said I don’t think that the reasoning is a justification for IT disabling. The long and short of it comes down to business objectives. IT should align with the ultimate business goals it is not about IT it is about the business.

      As for IT people not being idiots and shouldn’t be treated as such, I agree. But again it is the responsibility of the IT leadership to change the image of his/her department and make sure that his people aren’t reciprocating poor behavior.

      It takes true leadership in IT to make a good IT department. The leader has to step out of the “I am a tech guru” role and put on the “How can IT help you today?” hat. Just because IT should be involved in a meeting doesn’t mean you will be unless you champion the value of IT and change the perception of IT.

      It is up to the IT leader to make the IT department enablers and that means changing the way IT is done and what IT is about. IT isn’t about technology it is about business and making business happen.

      Adam Small

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  3. 4

    Having been the CIO for a company that had to work with billion dollar companies it has been my experience that many IT departments will simply shoot down something because they don’t want to deal it. For years I told my employees, peers and superiors that if they wanted innovation IT had to be an enabler not a disabler!

    To my employees it meant listen to the request, if management had decided it was a project that needed to be done- do it. As simple as that. If they could improve a process making it easier, quicker, and less costly propose it! Look for those opportunities.

    To my peers it meant that they had to be open to ideas from outside their realm of expertise and they had to be willing to explain their problems in terms that technology could understand and aid with.

    To my superiors it meant embracing change, leveraging and empowering IT where needed and most importantly aligning IT’s priorities with business objectives such as quality assurance, production efficiency and recognizing that while IT wasn’t a revenue generator it could save the company more money each year than it spent. IT doesn’t have to be solely a cost.

    Just because it “wasn’t in the budget” wasn’t a good enough excuse not to implement a cost saving, efficiency improving program. It meant we had to re-prioritize our projects and push somethings back.

    Adam Small

  4. 5

    It’s not just the IT-guys who might be disabling marketing efforts through new technology. Sometimes you ran into marketeers who might reject new technology, because they might see it as a threat to their professional role.
    I believe that anyone involved in marketing need to adjust themselves to new smart and cost-effective technology. Those who don’t are definitely facing harder times than the ones who do.

  5. 6

    I believe Peter Drucker had a quote once that said, “What happened to the ‘I’ in IT?” IT’s focus is and has been on technology. IT rarely staffs information or communications folks, nor the people to facilitate IT innovations. Simply put, most IT departments should be renamed “HelpDesk” or “Email Department”.

  6. 8

    Peter Drucker wrote a great article 10 or so years ago. It said that printers were made Lords and Barons during the previous information revolution because they were erroneously credited for the information made available. Over time they became more blue collar, seen as technician more than actual creators.
    Many companies are inadvertently run by their IT departments deciding what gets done first.
    Meet once a month, or even every two weeks, and the people running the company should set the priorities. Then tell everyone, including IT, what they are. Make sure the important stuff is getting done, and, equally important, what’s not going to get done this month.
    If you are allowing IT to prioritize, you are making them Lords and Barons. They should be highly valued for enabling and supporting your companies vision, but failing to prioritize for them, and failing to tell the users what’s not going to get done, is failing to lead your company.

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