I am delighted that the shortage of skilled IT staff in direct marketing was highlighted in “Talent Contest” (MW April 23).
However, this issue is much bigger than some commentators seem to appreciate. Research from the Gartner Group indicates that the majority of large businesses will outsource their IT functions by 2003. This trend is already fuelling the expansion of IT asset management firms and massive growth in the implementation of complete business management systems, such as SAP. Even if such systems are implemented internally, crucially, the expertise remains with the provider.
For our industry this can only mean fragmentation – IT staff that currently develop and support marketing databases or data warehousing platforms are already drifting away to join the software providers. This will leave software platforms that should be driving relationship marketing bereft of the expertise needed to operate them
We may have to accept that, long term, data and technology driven marketing will continue but the reins will be held by the technology giants and not the outfit that owns the relationship with the customer.
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