Why IT Pros and Marketers Need to Talk More

By: Romi Mahajan, President, KKM Group

In a recent  blog, I wrote about the ways in which technology vendors exaggerate the potency of their products and solutions; in this blog, I laid the blame in large part on people of my tribe- technology marketers who, bereft of nuanced views and messaging, make swollen claims.

While this might be “part of the job,” it actually hurts the entire IT ecosystem in the long run because it creates a fundamental distrust and a disconnect between marketers and IT Professionals whose lives have to be intertwined in the modern era.

The argument is fairly straightforward- IT gets a bad rap because people expect miracles; people expect  miracles because marketers promise them.  Unfortunately, real life doesn’t produce these miracles and the rest of us tend to blame IT for not creation Unicorns.

Think of the countless examples of failed BI implementations or Marketing-Tech gone bad.  Think of the billions sunk into poor ERP implementations or the failure of collaboration solutions to create truly collaborative organizations.

The problem with expecting outlandish outcomes is we are inevitably disappointed and, further, forgets that technology per se does not solve business, intellectual or organizational culture problems.

Now, we understand the rush to meet sales numbers and to drive revenue and profit.  But if in doing so we are setting our very enterprise and ecosystem back, then we are following a myopic Wall Street logic which eventually turns on us.

Technologies are perhaps necessary to improve organizational performance but they are far from sufficient.  Moreover, blaming IT Pros for the lack of miracles is not only unfair but counterproductive.

In order to bridge the gap between claims and reality, IT Pros and Marketers need to, well, talk more.  Marketers need to hear IT’s view of IT products and to walk a mile in IT’s shoes.  Similarly, IT has to understand that marketers are often “forced” to make hyperbolic claims lest buyers simply give up on new upgrades and simply deal with that they have.

To create authenticity in IT, marketers and IT Pros need to collaborate from the get-go.  Marketers must run their ideas by skeptical IT folks and IT folks must develop a culture that helps non-IT people understand how best to use technologies for their benefit, including tales of success and of failure and  woe.  Each tempers the other without destroying the type of giddy optimism that seems to work well in an already-hyped industry.

The conversation between these two groups will yield results not only in the long-term but in the short-term as well.  It’s easy to fall back on the old canard that IT folks are “a breed apart” when in fact, they are increasingly important to the way we all –even marketers- conduct our jobs and manage to find  success.  But doing so is a mistake.