In recent past, it was likely a team’s pocket protected IT colleagues debating the performance of software, user interfaces, and challenges associated with inoperability  – topics that left the rest of us open mouthed and eyes glazed as we struggled to understand the vast cacophony of acronyms. Sometimes intrigued, though often bored, we dismissed this nerdy dialect as IT mumbo jumbo. “Speak in business value,” we pleaded as our IT counterparts shook their heads in disbelief at our ignorance, further reinforcing the tension that exists in the IT/ Sales continuum.

 

Now, however, a new language has evolved that is permeating department ranks. It is the language of multi-channel – where business value is directly linked to underlying technology infrastructure. Time-to-market and the increasing requirement to engage with customers in real-time, rests in the ability to connect, decipher and syndicate large amounts of data in a clear, targeted and painless way.  What we manage becomes just as important as how we manage it – thereby, bringing dramatic changes in the frequency, context and means by which IT and the business world communicate.

 

The selection, consumption and governance of multi-channel technologies is changing the way teams work together.  No longer can services and technologies be built in isolation without taking into account the architectural and business goals of the company. Whereas previous IT investments efforts may have furthered political turf wars, the purchasing of multi-channel technologies no longer rests with one gatekeeper – multiple stakeholders are weighing in.

 

In the world of multi-channel, previously silo’d departments are adopting cross- functional methodologies to promote collaboration, flexibility and speed. Managers and employees are no longer grouped by function or product but through a dual authority system improving problem awareness. Task forces are springing up requiring participation from researchers, developers, marketers, salespeople and support resources. Terms such as  “Hierarchy,” “Taxonomy” and “Nodes” are easily spoken aloud with mutual appreciation and understanding.

 

Organizations that are able to respond and optimize business and team structure to support cross-channel initiatives have a significant leg up in this growing environment. Though technical skills are needed, the era of multi-channel requires emphasis on communication and soft skills. Just as the requirement to communicate and exchange data between multiple systems or devices is imperative to a company’s success, so to are the proliferation, understanding and sharing of language and ideas.