CIOs 'must engage with marketing teams' or face shadow IT

Most CIOs interact with finance, minority with marketing says Forrester Consulting

Stuart Walters, IT director at international law firm Taylor Wessing, has urged other CIOs and IT managers to engage with customer facing lines of business, such as sales and marketing, in a bid to avoid the emergence of shadow IT.

His comments come off the back of the latest Forrester Consulting research, commissioned by Colt Technology services, VMware and Cisco, which found that less than half of CIOs frequently or often collaborate with marketing (43 percent) and sales (30 percent).

This compares to 79 percent of CIOs that frequently collaborate with finance.

The research, based on 400 CIO interviews across Europe, found that 68 percent of UK CIOs rarely or only sometimes collaborate with the marketing function. Despite this more than half of those surveyed acknowledged that becoming familiar with lines-of-business is a challenge that they need to address.

Some 60 percent of respondents also said that departments buying their own (shadow) IT is a threat to their own roles and responsibilities.

Walters said that he is trying to address this challenge at Taylor Wessing by establishing a team to work closely with different lines of business.

"It's something that I've been proactively trying to change in my role. I've been with Taylor Wessing for 18 months and have been very consciously engaging with the business and building an internal relationship management function to aid that engagement process," said Walters.

"This is basically an internal sales team that goes into the business and sells the IT services that we either already have or are being proposed to us by suppliers - we sell those services into the business. These people are being internally trained on sales techniques and relationship management techniques."

He added: "It involves going in and understanding the larger business, thoroughly understanding the lines of business, walking a mile in their shoes, and trying to understand what their challenges and opportunities are. Both internally in their lines of business, but also what their challenges and opportunities are with their clients as well."

Walters argues that this is essential in the enterprise, because departments, such as marketing and sales, now have the option to bypass the IT department and go straight to the cloud to purchase their IT.

He said: "The risk is that now these departments have the opportunity to go and buy services from whoever they wish. I'm sure some of this does occur and it's very difficult to control, but you have to engage with the business alongside them to understand what they need.

"The danger is that you become just a back-office IT function that keeps the lights on and is not seen to add any value."

According to Walters, Taylor Wessing is pursuing the cloud where it can. He argues that IT departments just need to ensure that the correct security is in place, contracts are in order and that they understand where the data is being stored.

He also believes that the biggest challenge in addressing this engagement problem is changing the IT department's brand from a 'break-fix operation' to a 'value adding service'.

"I've experienced in previous roles where you feel like the GP at Sunday lunch - everybody stares around at each other in business meetings trying to find out who has got an ailment. That perception change is a difficult one," said Walters.

"However, IT needs to get involved in business meetings, make sure that they are there and they are seen. They need to sit and listen to what these departments do in the business, research the lines of business, find out what their day job is."

He added: "You need to get the IT team interested in what goes on in the business."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags careerscloud computingCIOIT managementinternetVMwareForrester ConsultingIT BusinessColt

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Derek du Preez

Computerworld UK
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?