Exa News Update, October 2010


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Why your website MUST not be run
by your IT department

The following is a confession from an ex-IT Manager. Name has been withheld to protect the inner-geek.

Nearly 20 years ago when my old company set up its first website, I thought about who should run it. The natural and logical conclusion was IT for sure. After all, the web runs on the internet, the internet is part of IT, lots of computers are needed and it takes IT knowledge, so I decided the corporate website had to be run and done by IT. As an ex-IT Manager, this was a no-brainer.

Sure it functioned VERY well and uptime was good but it was soon evident that there were issues. It didn't look as good as our competitor's and wasn't reflecting our business and marketing goals.

So after a year or two I decided that it should be run by Sales/Marketing.

Pending Disaster

The IT guys were HORRIFIED. They predicted pending disaster.

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IT departments will spread loads of FUD (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) when their baby is taken away from them. They predicted doom and gloom for the site and even suggested it might impact our office network and security. I consoled them that they would still play a vital role but that the decision was final.

 What clients are saying: CN Ruggiero

Sales/Marketing Tool

The result was not a disaster but a legitimate marketing tool. Sure the technical maintenance and implementation was done by IT but Sales/Marketing directed the strategy. We found that the website actually worked for us bringing in a lot more sales leads converting into increased revenue and savings in admin and sales time.

Grip Loosened

In the end, even our IT guys recognised the role of the website and were willing to loosen their grip.

Web programming had become increasingly complex. In the early days, it was all just simple HTML - you put a spinning logo on the site and everyone was happy! Nowadays you have loads of complex JavaScript, SQL, server side scripting, Flash, Action Script and much more. Modern web sites have layer upon layer of complexities such as these. Then there's server security and most importantly you have to get the site to the top of Google. Google makes several HUNDRED changes each year to its programs that work out how to rank sites. It's a full time job for a large team simply to try to keep up with that.

Cost Savings

They also recognised the cost savings in domain hosting externally. IT guys spend loads of time keeping it all running smoothly. Today, a modern and proper data centre costs no less than $1 million to build and has MASSIVE redundancy built into it (e.g. dual power, A/C, dust filtering, gas fire suppression, multiple internet links and even 24 hour security). As the cost is split between many thousands of customers external hosting makes incredible value.

At that point they were relieved to outsource to an external web solutions company. Of course, they wanted to be part of the supplier evaluation process!

Although, slowly but surely, most business have made the same shift I did, it astounds me that today there are so many businesses STILL having their website run by IT. I look at sites every day, where it's so OBVIOUS that IT desperately holds on to it. Thank goodness they are a dying breed. Get your IT guys doing what they do best, looking after your network and the productivity of all your staff and systems.

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