One of the emerging trends shaping enterprise technology that has received a lot of discussion over the past year has been the emergence of a “parallel” IT department. This is mainly coming out of marketing departments, which are taking the reins of big data, mobile and social media efforts by investing in their own solutions, often coming off the cloud.

Is IT okay with this? While IT and marketing departments have different priorities when it comes to advancing to the digital realm, there's a lot of common ground as well. A study of 312 mid-market executives from IBM finds a great deal of commonality between what marketing leaders seek vs. the aspirations of IT leaders.

Both marketers and IT staff want to employ technology to better focus on better reaching their customers. Sixty-three percent of the top-performing companies in the survey say customers have a major influence on their business, and nine out of 10 fully intend to collaborate more extensively with customers.

Among the top priorities of chief marketing officers are integrating cross-channel touch points, as well as employing analytics to capture customer insights. Marketers also want to make greater use of social networks to foster collaboration, and turn to mobile and cloud to achieve advanced operational efficiencies and attract and market to new customers. For their part, CIOs also seek a greater digitization of their organizations' operations, as well as to build analysis capabilities against all the big data flowing in.

Overall, however, most executives agree that they are not as digitally savvy as they'd like. The survey found that more than half of midmarket companies lack an integrated digital strategy.

“Their biggest hurdle isn’t technology or security,” the survey found. “Their challenge is to understand how social media fits into the mix, and its return on investment. To achieve full value, social media, as well as social business, needs to inspire entirely new ways of working, learning and orchestrating processes across the organization and beyond.” 

Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.

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