There’s always at least a little bit of tension between IT and digital comms teams. They both strive for the greater good but generally have a different view of what that means. The IT team care about security, stability and sustainability. And I’m very pleased they do as a flaky network and lack of email can kill a digital strategy before its started!
A digital comms team thrives on agile, agnostic, use of new technology – having a quick turn around that takes advantage of the current wave of interest. Unfortunately this doesn’t always go down that well with the steady and sturdy IT folk. However I wouldn’t advocate uprooting and going alone.
I’ve worked in a number of models – digital tech completely outsourced, digital development outsourced and hosting in house, and currently a mix of digital tech inhouse and outsourced across the piece. So far the last model has been the most effective event though it’s resulted in more tension and complexity at times.
Why do I think this?
- The tech side can be a time consuming distraction.
You can delegate the maintenance stuff and get on with the new bits. If you’re in digital comms your priority should be the user experience and the comms itself – not fixing a compatibility issue that arises when a new browser is released.
- Being too close to the tech can mean you don’t challenge it.
It’s a lot easier to push for the next piece of functionality when your head isn’t completely buried in all the intricacies and complexities of the technology.
- Managing integration to back office systems isn’t digital.
When your website talks to your back office systems its very easy to get drawn into working on the integration and development of those systems. This just isn’t a good use of your time nor skills. It is a good use of IT skills – its one of the things they’re employed for.
- Having a different perspective is healthy.
‘IT brains’ are often different to ‘comms brains’, together (either across individuals or within the same person) you end up with the right questions, checks and balances that result in a better more future proof result.
Unfortunately there isn’t a trick to making the model work comfortably. A two way balance of trust, defining boundaries, respecting skills, and spending time to build the partnership are all key to ensuring you get the best out of any joint working.