Tourism Australia overcomes shadow IT to bring tech and marketing together

Tourism Australia CIO Dave Rusmey recognised that the relationship between IT and marketing had to change in order to save the business money.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

At one point marketers were leapfrogging the IT department to buy into "shiny" IT solutions because they were often being denied of the technologies they were after, Tourism Australia CIO Dave Rumsey has admitted.

Speaking at the Forrester Research CMO+CIO Sydney 2015 event earlier this week, Rumsey explained that for a long time organisations were spending a lot of money on solutions that were mostly sold to a business because "they looked shiny", but were not bringing any value.

Recognising this issue was occurring within Tourism Australia, Rumsey said he changed the role of the IT department within the company to become more consultative, rather than to be the team that would be "sitting there saying you can't have it".

"We're trying every way to say 'yes'; 'no' is the last resort. We're here as the enabler of the business and I think that's a real key message," he said.

"When we talk to our marketing and digital friends, and they're dreaming about these things that may be possible or not possible, or practical or not practical, there's not the IT guy saying, 'Nah, nah because there are security concerns', 'How do you get the data right?', or 'Where is the data coming from?' I think it really allows us to have a more open environment to start a discussion."

He said this has resulted in reducing the company's total technology costs, and has improved the relationship between the marketing and IT teams.

"By taking our time to understand what the marketing department wanted it was really quite as simple as saying, 'Let's get out of that bad contract and let's get into this one'; it's really about adding value," he said.

"We had to make sure our marketing department got a much better experience and a much stronger set of tools to use.

"For me that's the opportunity for CIOs to understand in some detail...how we can make savings and put that straight back into the pockets to help the guys run even better campaigns."

Rumsey said one instance where Tourism Australia's marketing and IT departments successfully worked together was on the 'Best Job in the World' campaign

"Our previous CMO requested that we deliver functionality that would be able to deal with all the people who were entering the competition; through that we developed a great level of trust. He respected me and we had joint conversations. I was getting right involved at the ideas stage, and even if I was just sitting there listening not commenting, at least I was right there."

Editorial standards