Why IT Shouldn’t Develop Your Website.
Over the past 12 years that I’ve designed, built & marketed websites, I have noticed a trend where the responsibility for a company’s website is now transitioning from the IT department to the marketing department (and rightfully so). Don’t get me wrong, I love IT departments and I built my client base through referrals from IT companies years ago. Those referrals have dried up because business owners are looking to their marketers and not their IT companies for help on their website.
Why am I writing this post if this transition already happened? Because just yesterday I spoke to a marketer that had his hands tied because ownership decided to have the internal IT team redevelop their website instead of bringing in a web or marketing company. That conversation made me realize that this is still going on, especially with older companies and companies run by, lets say, old-fashioned executives where everything digital or technology is run by the IT team.
Five reasons why IT should not develop your website:
- They have better things to do – Technology touches every facet of a company whether big or small – from operations, accounting, HR, and in the field. The IT team has too much to do already to worry about building a website and especially updating it. I have seen some IT departments manage the website as “job security” because there is a weakness elsewhere. Rarely do we find a person that is stellar at web on both the IT and marketing side.
- IT’s expertise is only one piece of the pie – A website can be boiled down to 3 main components – Design, Message, and Functionality. The IT team can only help with the last part and even that isn’t a given, because web coding is a different talent than IT work such as networking, troubleshooting, & high-level consulting. On our team, we have people who design websites and others who code websites. The few that can do both design and code, do not have the same high level of skills as the ones that specialize in one or the other. This is not a slight to them (I used to be a designer & developer), it is because they are pulled in different directions and can not refine their craft as efficiently. Although we create websites, we certainly do not do IT for our clients, we don’t even do it for our own company.
- Poor Utilization of Resources – Generally, IT people are paid well and rightly so for many of them. Having them spend time on the website should be “beneath them” if they’re utilized correctly as more of a consultant and long-term vision instead of a break-fix repair shop. The best IT companies I know have left the break-fix model years ago for a managed services approach were they are rewarded with incentives for having things not break and being proactive, a win for them and the client.
- Accountability – One of the biggest reasons is that your marketing and business development teams are charged with bringing in new business and retaining existing clients. Since they are the ones held accountable, why take the control and ownership of one of their biggest tools and resources away from them? Your website should be a powerful business development tool that builds credibility when networking, recruits the best prospective employees, and converts visitors into clients.
- Big Picture – IT should be in discussions about the company’s future as it regards to operations and creating efficiencies using technology. Marketing should be at the table guiding the company through positioning, differentiation, and strategic goals on how to get to the next level. This is comparable to the difference between a COO and a CEO.
We do work with IT firms & departments when creating the website, but it is usually in regards to the hosting and integrating business applications already in place. The strongest websites that produce a ROI (return on investment) are lead and managed by the marketing team.