The days of IT working in a silo are far behind. Today, collaboration between technology and business leaders is absolutely necessary, and must become the culture of the organization at the highest levels. Looking at IT as part of a strategic solution for overall business success rather than just as a machine for producing technologies will help pave the way for a solid future.
Sales and Marketing Driven Development
A modern IT department will try to be as lean as possible, improve speed of delivery, and strive towards quality. While it should be assumed that IT will constantly fulfill basic needs like security, accessibility, and reliability, in today’s business environment, it must also be a partner on a larger scale.
A very common problem that results from a lack of collaboration between technology and marketing departments is that IT has no idea what the customer wants, and hence may create products that have no real value or are clunky and difficult to use. This causes multiple problems, such as low adoption, customer frustration, high volumes of calls to support staff, and lack of customer loyalty. If IT partnered with the Sales and Marketing departments, which has constant customer contact and understands the struggles of implementation, the business could benefit immensely.
Innovation is a must in business today, but simply making shiny new buttons is not enough anymore. Customers need speed, convenience, and utility in new products. Any solution provided by IT should solve multiple problems for the customer. Marketing knows the customers’ desires firsthand, but often bears the brunt when their needs are not sufficiently understood by technology departments. As Marketing and IT begin strategically communicating and collaborating, product lines can be smoothed out and made more robust. Existing offerings may be tweaked to simplify or improve the customer experience. This is a win-win situation for both Marketing and IT that also simultaneously builds trust and rapport between these departments.
The Payoff of Collaboration
Let’s consider just one of the possibilities above: simplifying the customer experience. With an easily used and understood customer interface, costs for training customers will decrease. Thus, the product is in use much more quickly and the adoption process will be favorable. This potentially leads to additional purchases by that same customer due to the ease of use and positive perception of the implementation experience. Add-on product sales also become much easier to obtain in such cases.
What if, through building trust and communication between IT and Marketing, cumbersome organizational processes could be improved as well? Products would be marketed more quickly, administration and implementation efforts could be minimized, morale improved, and staff would become more productive. Every one of these benefits would result in an increase to the bottom line, whether through reduced costs or increased revenue.
Customers want useful choices and businesses should seek to fulfill that desire as thoroughly as possible. Building a partnership between Marketing and IT moves the entire organization forward on a productive and positive path that leads to success on all levels.