The bridging of creative and technology functions is nothing new. After all, the creative genius behind the most beautiful websites and mobile apps could never have come into being without the coding and networking skills of a whole host of tech gurus. Collaboration is key, and many companies have mastered this. However, many organizations are beginning to realize that it’s no longer a matter of merely “bridging the gap.” These functions cannot exist independently side by side. Merging creative and technology into cross-functional teams and roles is essential to better executing business strategy and meeting organizational goals.
The challenge, of course, is how the merging of creative and technology affects demand and hiring practices.
The Business Case for Merging Creative and Technology
While we’re seeing this trend in many industries and sectors, it’s particularly the case in digital marketing, branding and advertising. Consumers expect personalized digital experiences that are responsive to their choice of device and platform.
Thus, the creative side of marketable customer experience absolutely requires precise analytics and insights in order to truly strategize and maximize customer engagement and decision-making. This is especially true in light of cross-channel and multi-device scenarios. One-size-fits-all solutions simply don’t cut it. Gathering and measuring this information requires precise, real time big data.
The other side of the picture is that the developers of consumer products and services are typically trained with the focus of rigid and efficient coding, with little room for the creativity it takes to actually engage the end user. It’s clear there needs to be a tighter process here in order to leverage both sides of the equation.
This intersection between creatives, big data and development professionals is the first clue that a cross-functional team is key. This is the only way to reduce the broadening gap between strategy and execution. So what does this look like? Simply, it looks like getting your analysts, developers, and architects on the same page as your writers, illustrators, and designers. This merged team needs to be jointly led by your CIO/CTO and CMO. Otherwise, you risk major inefficiency and imbalance should these departments continue to function separately.
What About Cross-Functional Roles?
More and more frequently, we’re hearing the term “Creative Technologist” thrown around, both in the IT world and in the marketing and advertising world. Another cross-functional role we’ve seen a lot recently is the CMTO – Chief Marketing Technology Officer. Often, professionals in these roles come from a development background and have established a strategic understanding of the creative process. The roles require agility and cross-functional skills that enable a seamless process between the creative and technical workflows.
These are hands-on roles that have evolved out of growing disparity between separated technical directors and creative directors. From ideation and conception to execution and implementation, there needs to be a streamlined process in order to optimize the work done from both sides of the team. Cross-functional roles such as the creative technologist and CMTO allow businesses to implement efficiencies, ask more questions, push more boundaries, and create truly cutting-edge products and services.
Beyond these director- and c-suite level roles, there are a handful of other positions that bridge the divide between creative and technology. These include, UI/UX designers, digital content writers, digital designers, marketing analysts, web/data analysts, product intelligence analysts, industrial designers, social media strategists, e-commerce analysts, and mobile developers.
How Does Merging Creative and Technology Affect Hiring?
Admittedly, cross-functional roles are hard ones to fill. They stand apart from the typical career roles many people are used to, which means professionals with the right combination of skills are hard to find. Additionally, they’re attracted to companies like start-ups or thriving tech giants that are already defying those traditionalist practices and separated functions.
The pattern of supply and demand for cross-functional creative and technical roles is familiar; demand is growing rapidly while the supply is short. It means high levels of competition between companies and ever-growing salaries. At KORE1, we’ve done some extensive salary research (get a copy of our 2016 IT Salary Guide here), and are seeing the intense demand first hand. Companies need to get creative in their hiring, especially when it comes to cross-functional roles.
As we see more companies merging creative and technology teams and roles, we’re committed to find the right talent to fulfill the needs of our clients. Let us know how we can help you today.