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The Importance of Cross-Functional Alignment Between Digital and IT Teams

Contributors: Sara Morris

With the rise of digital – including direct-to-consumer, enhanced customer data, and accessible AI – we have seen firsthand the benefits of cross-functional alignment between digital and IT teams. For digital teams, utilizing the latest technology is a key growth driver. However, digital and IT teams often operate in silos, resulting in missed opportunities and inefficiencies. In this piece, we explore the importance of cross-functional alignment between digital and IT teams and how this can enable successful digital transformation. 

Paving the Way for Success with Cross-Functional Collaboration 

Digital teams are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest technology solutions to enhance their campaigns. However, this approach can lead to a fragmented technology stack, underutilized tools, and unnecessary costs. On the other hand, IT departments are typically more cautious and focused on core systems, which can result in a mismatch of priorities leading to potential missed opportunities for digital marketing teams. 

The key to success lies in marrying the two departments and aligning their goals. Digital teams need to work closely with IT to ensure that their technology solutions align with the company’s overall technology strategy. IT, in turn, needs to be open to exploring new technologies and ideas proposed by digital marketing teams. 

One of the key benefits of cross-functional alignment between digital and IT is enhanced customer data. By leveraging data and analytics, digital marketers can gain a deeper understanding of customer behavior, preferences, and needs, and use this information to create personalized experiences across all digital touchpoints. IT can support this effort by providing the necessary infrastructure and tools, such as CRM systems, marketing automation platforms, and analytics dashboards. 

Quick Wins to Improve Operational Efficiency 

Cross-functional alignment can also drive innovation and improve operational efficiency. By collaborating on technology initiatives, digital and IT can identify and implement new tools and processes that end up not only increasing efficiency across the entire organization but also aid in data accuracy and reduce costs overall due to more seamless operations. This can create a virtuous cycle of innovation, where digital marketers are empowered to experiment and try new things, and IT teams can focus on delivering the necessary infrastructure and support. 

Proactive collaboration between digital and IT teams will allow for a more dynamic relationship and faster and more agile response to changing technology requirements. As a business grows, its technological needs may become more complex, requiring more advanced tools and platforms for scaling, advanced personalization, and improved system integration. By evaluating and updating technology requirements regularly, businesses can ensure that their systems are optimized for their current needs and goals and can adapt quickly to changes in the market or customer demands.  

Performing audits of technology requirements on a regular cadence will help keep organizations at the forefront of the latest and greatest. We know that technology is constantly evolving, thus re-assessing technology requirements can help businesses stay ahead of the curve and take advantage of emerging trends and innovations in their industry. 

By working together, digital marketing and IT can achieve a more streamlined and effective technology stack. It’s not just about implementing the latest technology solutions, but rather ensuring that all departments are working together towards an integrated digital ecosystem 

Cross-Functional Alignment Between Digital and IT in Action  

In companies that do business direct-to-consumer, we are seeing them switch eCommerce vendors to meet evolving business needs, as different vendors provide different competitive advantages. For example, Shopify allows for fast implementation given its easy setup and out-of-the box functionality. Adobe Commerce may be better suited for businesses with higher volumes who want the ability to customize more, while Salesforce Commerce Cloud may better serve businesses looking to do enhanced personalization or integrate with other Salesforce products.  

Additionally, some businesses may decide to build a custom eCommerce platform. Some examples of companies who have switched eCommerce vendors include Bombas (switched from Magento to Shopify) and Allbirds (switched to Shopify in 2019). Working cross-functionally with both the business and technology experts will allow for faster identification of evolving technological needs and improved agility to respond to the ever-changing technology landscape.  

Enabling Successful Digital Transformation 

If your business is looking to create a new strategy where digital and IT walk hand-in-hand, consider Clarkston Consulting as your strategic partner. With our expertise in business strategy and technology transformation, we help align business and technology priorities to focus efforts on IT initiatives that enable businesses to differentiate in the marketplace and thrive.   

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Tags: IT Strategy, Digital Strategy