IT has taken a lot of flack in recent years as the CMO will hold more IT budget than the CIO war of words rages on. I’ve expressed my own view that leaving IT behind is a huge risk for marketing. IT is evolving by adapting enterprise architecture to suit new business and customer demands. This post looks at five ways this is being achieved:
1. IT with Innovation
Allstate Insurance were recognised by Forrester and Penn State University for developing a pattern of working and building IT platforms that aided innovation. This enabled the business to execute ideas faster, have earlier visibility of problems and establish ways of working with IT.
This gets my gold star!
One of the big reasons for the IT/Marketing divide is the perceived speed at which IT can support business change. By creating an environment and processes that support rapid prototyping, Allstate is in a great position to build new business models, communications platforms and products for their customers.
2. Customer Focussed IT
This next example shows what can happen when IT focuses on the real customer as opposed to internal customers. Australia Post achieved this by building a layer of business and technical architecture designed to serve the customer and store their data. This architecture was then communicated broadly to the organisation to ensure everyone was aware of the possibilities.
Digitisation of key products has been the result of this change in architecture ensuring that Australia Post has a bright future ahead.
It takes real commitment to take on a major reform of IT in this way. Changing business processes, as well as rebuilding the technology is no small task. What really sets this case apart though is the time that was spent educating internal consumers of the service on what was possible.
3. Experience Architecture – Not Enterprise Architecture
State Farm have recognised that their customers want to connect with them at their convenience on a channel of their choice. To work with this new customer, State Farm created a business unit called Experience Architecture to set out the patterns and tooling for business and IT projects.
For me Experience Architecture is an overlooked business need. With the multitude of channels available and the always on nature of business, their needs to be a way of standardising experiences. Doing this fulfils several needs. Firstly it prevents the creation of weak channels when integration is only half done. Secondly it ensures that no new silos of data and functionality are created.
4. Experience and Marketing Middleware
This is a growing area of IT architecture. Marketing or experience middleware is finding a use case as marketing and IT teams discover that different elements of the customer experience need to brought together.
Twitter data needs combining with CRM. Email and web should deliver the same personalised message and offers. Mobile GPS location should trigger real-time SMS.
There’s a further consideration for the business which is to avoid lock in to single tech vendor. With so many “marketing clouds” reportedly providing the full suite of tools a marketer could dream of, there is a real concern that a single provider might not be a good idea. Marketing middleware enables businesses to select best of breed solutions and then integrate them in the way they choose.