Marketing, HR, IT : the new couples in digital transformation

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Partners in digital transformation

Who should be in charge of driving digital transformation. The cross-functional nature of the matter makes it impossible for anyone to claim having the required skills, legitimacy and business impact to drive digital transformation at the enterprise scale. Knowing that, many started to build internal synergies and since the smallest an alliance is the easier it’s to manager, couples started to form.

The first and most famous couple is the Marketing/IT one (or CMO-CIO if you prefer).

CIO : this necessary partner everyone loves to cheat on

The rationale behind the Marketing-IT couple is quite obvious. For many businesses,  digital transformation starts with customer experience or – in the worse case – it’s nothing but customer experience. Digital is needed for the customer : the choice of the duo is obvious and, most of times, they didn’t even need help to meet.

But the relationship is tumultuous. For agility reasons, marketing eventually felt in love with cloud, leaving IT disappointed. Why should one wait for two years to get what others can give in two weeks ? But after experimentation comes the times of industrialization, customization and connection with other enterprise solutions. More, data also require very specific skills without which nothing is possible. Bottom line, the couple eventually reformed and is doing pretty well because, meanwhile, IT learned to become agile and is now aware that his value in the couple had to become more tangible. So it started to transform in this way. Marketing is more with an IT that says “let’s go” than with the old It who always said “no”.

But digital transformation is also about employee experience. Hence another old couple : HR/IT. This couple had quite the same story as the first one. The meeting, a quiet life, the cloud, the reunion when things got serious again. But this relationship is less passionate than the Marketing/IT one. It’s about infrastructure, delivery, compliance, processes, but they’re very shy about transformation and experience. It’s true that all the legal constraints that don’t stop piling up don’t help HR to go beyond their basic, core mission. But it’s time to put a touch of madness in the relationship or else the children (candidates, employees) may sue them for bad treatment. Or try to be adopted elsewhere.

How ironic : because it’s solid and master all the foundations, IT looks like the  perfect son-in-law but its awkwardness used to make his partners look for someone else as much as possible. But IT is changing and promises it’s going to be get better over time. However, there’s no other option : even if everyone needs IT one day or another, IT’s life does not make sense without other’s projects. So IT questioned itself to contribute more to the success of others and adopted a new vision of its relationship with others.

HR and marketing : the perfect couple that never meets

I strongly believe that marketing won’t be successful without the right resources and won’t deliver any customer experience online and online (because the world is both online and offline at the same time) without a relevant employee experience. I’m also convinced that businesses will face a growing consumerization of work that will result in the adoption of practices, postures, tools approaches of the consumer world inside the organization, for employees. This consumerization won’t spare HR and one the best ways to face it is to get closer to marketing and collaborate with  because they master all these new concepts and can bring methodologies, tools, and act as partner, provider or coach.

The HR/Marketing Couple appears to be an essential yet too rare cornerstone of digital transformation.There are many reasons to that. The first is tha they don’t have any “habitual work relationship” to build this dynamic upon. The second is HR is oftent collapsing under it’s core mission and a legal environment that’s getting more complex each and every day. Not enough breath to do more for un under-staffed function which is even not considered as legitimate when it comes to digital issues.

So it’s a perfect couple…if only they could meet and know each other more. But they don’t use the same dating sites.

The chief digital officer is the company’s dating site for digital transformation.

So there are a least three functions that could collaborate on digital transformation. But either they never meet or struggle to build real synergies. To fix this, businesses appointed Chief Digital Officers. They have two missions : offset the lack of vision and leadership of the  C-suite and make others collaborate on a shared vision. The CDO is here to make functions work together.

Bottom line : digital transformation won’t happen as long as people at the top of the pyramid don’t cooperate on a shared vision. Solo initiatives, “miracle guys” or unsustainable duos are a last resort. No business will move forward is key functions refuse to talk to each other and refuse to see what they could bring one another.

Photo Credit : Wedding by Phaendin via Shutterstock