Why your web team should not be in the IT department

My friend Dan Serrato recently asked for articles and reasons why the web development team should not be under the purview of the IT department. I strongly believe that the web team should not be under IT and here's my reasons. Some of these may be sweeping generalizations so if you're an IT guy/gal please don't take my server out "because you can".

The web is about communication not technology

There's no doubt that the advancement of the internet is due to really clever people developing cool things like web servers and protocols and languages like HTML, or is it? The reason these technologies came into existence was so that people could communicate, whether it be during war or to share scientific knowledge with other people with huge brains, you know who you are Tim Berners Lee. The web is about communication and people have consistently found or developed new ways to use the web to communicate and connect with each other. Come on you know you checked Facebook and Twitter or [insert web app name here] this morning to see what your friends were doing. Yesterday's startup will become tomorrow's big business and the cycle will start again. People will flock to a new web app that allows freedom and opportunity to communicate.

What's your department's primary focus?

Read these:

  • Sparking conversations,
  • Creating a brand awareness
  • Providing excellent customer service
  • Generating leads
  • Sharing knowledge
  • Maintain security of servers
  • Providing a solid internet connection
  • Measuring effectiveness of marketing campaigns
  • Utlizing social media to create engaged consumers and brand advocates

Ok so it's a little marketing heavy, but I'm hoping you get where I'm going. The requirements of of a solid web presence require that you connect to your customer to promote engagement and help you serve them better. You need a rock solid infrastructure to do this, that's where the IT department comes in. In my  experience sparking conversations online and creating brand advocates is not always in the skill set of many IT departments. Now I know you can totally take down my server if I've upset you with that statement. I respect you and am in awe of that skill but let's not go to the dark side please.

Look at the stereotypes?

Remember that ad campaign by Apple playing on the PC versus Apple stereotypes? So, that campaign was focused on operating systems but If you swap PC for IT and Apple for marketing you've got the same situation. I know what stereotype I want to be creating my web site.

What's critical is that the relationship between IT departments and a web team in marketing is good. These two teams need to work together with understanding and a common purpose to deliver customers a quality experience online. It takes both areas to really make magic online, but each area should do what it's good at. In my mind this means web teams need to be in the marketing area and IT departments focusing on rock solid infrastructures.