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Tearing Up the Old-fashioned Boundaries Between IT and Business

By Chris Windebank, IT Director, Global Marketing, Bacardi

Chris Windebank, IT Director, Global Marketing, Bacardi

1. How has your IT operating model changed during the last five years in the Marketing industry?

Like the rest of the industry Bacardi has seen a massive shift from traditional to digital media across our portfolio and around the globe. This has required us to retool our marketing technologies and update our organizational model to enable us to take advantage of these digital opportunities. We have moved from a local/regional to a global operating model, shifted from hosted to SaaS IT. We have broken down digital marketing into easy to consume and delivery global services relevant to all brand and markets. Our teams have become hybrids of IT and Marketing professionals with the traditional boundaries blurred.

2. What do you think are the biggest obstacles that technologists face in working in a more agile and outcomes based model?

We’ve got to work even closer with our business partners, deeper integrate our objectives and ways of working to ensure optimal outcomes, which means tearing up the old-fashioned boundaries between IT and business. Reshaping these old-fashioned stereotypes can be a significant hurdle and needs constant work. We’ve also got to continually reevaluate how we connect to consumers as the pace of change is so rapid.

“We need to be multi-skilled in Marketing and IT—to maximize the flow of information and collaboration between the two functions”

3. Moving from traditional Marketing to a service offering model requires a major mindset shift in Marketing. How did you make that happen?

We worked from a marketing POV and assembled a business focused service catalog and then implemented consistent cross partner service delivery. We coupled this with ongoing support to help drive adoption, started very heavy but as users gained familiarity with the series they become much more self-sufficient and we were able to scale back engagement.

4. Even though you do not measure your team on project deadlines, fast delivery must still be important to you. How are you delivering faster?

We do use agile delivery techniques and work with our partners to continually refine deadline and objectives. The SaaS tech may be faster to spin up but the change management still involves people so we always focus on bringing the people, Bacardi and partners, with us on new service role outs. We’ve adopted the startup model and invest in quick pilots to prove models rather than multi-year programs.

5. What set of skills do you think is required for the technology leaders to be successful in the new Marketing landscape?

We need to be multi-skilled in Marketing and IT—to maximize the flow of information and collaboration between the two functions. As service manager, we also need to be trusted to invest in service development ahead of the hard business need.

6. Which growing or future technology innovation are you personally excited about?

AI and IOT will enable huge advances in the way we interact with technology and brands.

7. We are all dealing with technology every day. How does technology drive your life?

It’s an enabler not a driver. Allows me to be more efficient, connected, flexible and productive—from both a work and personal POV.

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