A disconnect exists between digital marketing and IT that's fueled in part by software promising IT-free solutions. But the truth isn't that simple.
I just finished reading fellow CMSWire columnist’s Matt Mullen’s article “Dispelling the Chief Marketing Officer Myth," and I’d really recommend it to you if you’re grappling with strategic and governance decisions around Big Data management. The article resonated with me based on the work that I've been doing with my clients around analytics governance.
In my work as an analytics consultant, I am more frequently encountering organizations where the CMO of the digital channel is saying “I need a 360 degree view of the customer” and more traditional database analytics leaders saying “We know digital data is important, but we don’t own it, and we really don’t know what to do with it.”
At the same time, there is a pretty vague sense of what to do with this data… as in, “how do we get to actionable insights?” So, there are really two issues here: one is about the actual collection of data and the other is about understanding the data.
Based on what I've seen, both marketing and IT seem a lot more comfortable talking about the point solutions and systems that deal with the data — not so much on what to do with it — and BI folks are interested in starting to experiment with digital data to come up with ROI models, predictive marketing models and interesting segmentations.
The Truth Behind IT Free Solutions
I've been working in the Internet field since 1993 and web analytics since 1996, and I wrote the CMSWatch Web Analytics Report. The push to put digital marketing tools, including analytics, into the hands of marketers (digital and web analytics included) has created an interesting dynamic. Marketers know more about technology solutions than ever before, but the promise of completely enabling marketers to run their programs independent of technology professionals is really more about desire than reality.
Much of this paradigm has been fueled by software vendors in the digital channel. For example, in the early days of analytics in the mid to late 1990s, the solutions were heavily dependent on fairly traditional IT involvement: server admins, system admins, network admins, to enable the processing and storage of log files. This really got in the way of making sales for the analytics vendors.
I have worked with dozens of organizations over the years, large and small, regional and international, commercial, government and non-profit, and in that time, I think I could count on one hand the instances where the relationship between the digital channel or marketing team and IT was referred to in positive terms. Most of my clients and analytics managers I've surveyed for my Profiles in Analytics research express frustration that their requests to update code, or have applications coded correctly or have their requirements put into new CMS templates are not considered to be critical.
From my perspective, much of this disconnect has occurred because marketers who have bought the systems are responsible for getting it implemented. But that wasn't what was supposed to happen, the vendor said IT wouldn't be needed.
Yet the perception from the marketers is that they’ll forever be able to rid themselves of recalcitrant IT departments. Said one web analytics manager to me, “Yes, we’re purchasing a tag management system to completely go around IT. We’re looking forward to not having to deal with them anymore.”