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The c-suite partnership – everybody needs good neighbours

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The digital transformation has been accompanied by a shift in purchasing strategy. Non-IT employees are buying their own technology – and this shift is sometimes presented as a threat to the traditional IT department.

Take marketing, where evidence suggests the chief marketing officer (CMO) has an ever-increasing influence over IT procurement. Analyst Gartner’s latest figures show marketing chiefs spent 27 per cent of their budget on technology in 2016, equal to 3.24 per cent of overall company revenue, compared with CIO technology spend of 3.4 per cent of company revenue.

Marketeers are spending cash on key areas, like digital commerce and digital advertising, and fast-growing services, such as customer engagement and online video. Almost half (46 per cent) of firms believe digital now permeates their marketing efforts, according to researcher Econsultancy.

It is not just marketing executives who are buying their own systems and services. Employees in all departments are using the cloud to source technology solutions on demand. These executives are using services to overcome a business challenge quickly.

Such decentralised purchasing creates an issue for the traditional IT department. Technology professionals developed their skills in a contained world, where the IT focused on business applications, operations and support. Now, the standard enterprise firewall is permeable – and employees are buying their own tools as the need arises.

Interestingly, however, decentralised purchasing does not reduce the significance of strong IT management. Your organisation is probably buying more technology than ever before and it needs an IT department that can take a higher-level view. It needs skilled digital leaders who can govern and integrate a broad range of systems and services.

Modern IT professionals, in short, must engage with technology buyers across all lines of business. Next-generation technology professionals will need to be skilled relationship builders. Now is the time to assess the capability of your IT staff and to ensure your technology team is ready for the collaborative future.