IT, Marketers Must Collaborate More Effectively: Rackspace Survey

1 - IT, Marketers Must Collaborate More Effectively: Rackspace Survey
2 - Different Perspectives Set the Stage for Challenging Relationships
3 - Marketing and IT Pros Flag Problems With Working Together
4 - Different Missions and Priorities Set Up a Collision Course
5 - Marketing Pros Say IT Does Not Understand Marketing
6 - IT Pros Don't See Marketers as True Partners
7 - Despite Differences, Marketing and IT Agree They Need to Collaborate More
8 - IT and Marketing Integration Is Becoming More Common
9 - Third Parties Can Help Bridge the Gap
10 - IT and Marketing Should Embrace Being Uncomfortable
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IT, Marketers Must Collaborate More Effectively: Rackspace Survey

A Rackspace survey uncovers a disconnect between e-commerce CMOs and CIOs, even though they must work together more closely than ever before.

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Different Perspectives Set the Stage for Challenging Relationships

Rackspace surveyed 201 marketing and IT leaders to determine the state of their relationships, the biggest obstacles to effective collaboration and where they can find common ground. According to the survey, the challenges between IT and marketing start right from the beginning with different personalities and outlooks on either side. Marketers see themselves as cooperative and extroverted, while they see IT as nerdy and data-driven. However, IT team members see themselves as realistic, but still cooperative. The upshot is, both sides feel misunderstood.

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Marketing and IT Pros Flag Problems With Working Together

Of those surveyed, only 19 percent of IT leaders think marketing understands what they do, while fewer than one in 10 marketing leaders think IT leaders understand what they do. More than 50 percent of marketing leaders call the relationship time consuming, with active conflict. IT pros also flag the relationship as time consuming and say that marketing focuses on different goals (39 percent) and speaks a different language (43 percent) than they do. Not only that, of those surveyed, 82 percent of marketing pros say that they should be chiefly responsible for the customer experience—while a majority of IT personnel (53 percent) assert that they, on the contrary, should assume primary responsibility.

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Different Missions and Priorities Set Up a Collision Course

Different core priorities set the groups on a collision course, with marketing wanting to move fast to keep up and IT wanting to take the time to implement technologies securely. From the survey, marketing's main point of frustration is around speed. Marketing, perhaps trying to respond to customer preferences as quickly as possible and unaware of the work required to update the tech infrastructure, thinks IT is too slow. IT fears that marketing is too willing to trade security and quality for speed.

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Marketing Pros Say IT Does Not Understand Marketing

Survey results uncovered specific frustrations between marketing and IT. On the marketing side, 46 percent felt IT does not work quickly enough, and 44 percent said IT does not understand marketing. Also, 41 percent of marketers surveyed feel that IT does not think strategically enough, and 32 percent think IT does not cooperate with the marketing department. More than a quarter of respondents said that IT does not have the skills to support new digital marketing initiatives, and IT does not give the marketing department easy and unfettered access to data.

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IT Pros Don't See Marketers as True Partners

On the IT side, 47 percent felt that marketers want IT to move faster at the expense of quality and security. Forty-two percent said they feel that marketing does not understand the details of IT, and 36 percent think marketers see IT as vendors, not real partners. Thirty-five percent said that marketing leaders commit to plans without consulting with IT, and more than a fifth think marketing does not cooperate with the IT department.

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Despite Differences, Marketing and IT Agree They Need to Collaborate More

Both groups firmly believe that they should be involved in pleasing customers. And they agree that collaboration is essential because digital marketing is the future. Interestingly, IT believes that 75 percent of effective marketing is digital, whereas marketing believes traditional and digital approaches contribute equally to marketing effectiveness. In the end, 92 percent of marketing leaders and 72 percent of IT leaders say they want more integration between their teams. And 72 percent of each group thinks they will be more successful if they work together more closely.

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IT and Marketing Integration Is Becoming More Common

Both marketing and IT respondents feel that integration has been on the rise. Seventy-one percent of marketers and 65 percent of IT say there is more integration now than five years ago. And seven out of 10 of both groups say there will be more integration in three years' time.

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Third Parties Can Help Bridge the Gap

Seventy percent or more of both groups surveyed (70 percent marketing, 76 percent IT) said they believe a neutral third party could make their collaboration easier. For each group, the preferred third party would be a full-service managed cloud provider, while their ideal facilitator would be a "responsive problem-solver." Other desired traits include an easy working relationship, a provider of skills their organization lacks and the ability to help the organization overcome inter-department disagreements. Top benefits cited include a fresh set of eyes on a problem, filling knowledge gaps and industry expertise.

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IT and Marketing Should Embrace Being Uncomfortable

Rackspace Digital GM Kyle Metcalf experienced much of the same frustrations as survey respondents in his various roles. "Both sides need to seek to understand but I believe marketing has the most to learn," he said. "I've lived this in my current role. As the business leader, I had to work more closely with my technical teams. I wanted things done faster than was possible. We lived in frustration until we decided we were going to work through it. I had to get into a space that was uncomfortable for me, and the technology side of the house had to get uncomfortable in driving a bit more aggressively than they would prefer. Once I understood more about their process, I saw that my requests were unreasonable. The technology side of the house had to get more uncomfortable in committing to aggressive timelines and participating in more business planning. Overall, ego needs to be curbed and both...

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