Conflicts between IT and marketing challenge digitisation

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Increased conflict between IT and marketing departments is a prominent challenge in digitally transforming businesses.

This was revealed by experts at the Avanade Executive Forum in Johannesburg last night.

The forum aimed to unpack the roles of the CIO, CMO and CDO in driving digital transformation in business.

The digitisation of all elements of the business is rapidly breaking down silos between formerly disparate components of the business, said branding and advertising expert and strategist Andy Rice. This includes the traditional divide between IT and marketing.

Marketing is becoming increasingly digitised and drawing more and more on IT resources, particularly data, said Rice. The Cannes Lions creative communications festival and awards show this year debuted the category of "creative data", he added.

Yet marketers' drive to access and communicate business data often raises regulation and security concerns, noted Sean Maritz, acting CIO at Eskom.

Different strategy cultures also butt heads, added Maritz, as "IT traditionally wants to deal with all aspects of a problem before going to market", which for digitising businesses can mean vital lags in adaption time. Marketers finalise and execute strategies much more quickly, he continued.

Marketers and IT staff clash with one another because they both want the best for the organisation, but have very different concerns and objectives in achieving this goal, Maritz explained.

The challenge presented to IT departments is to embrace their role as increasingly central to every aspect of the business, rather than being a single element which can get away with keeping itself to itself, he concluded.

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