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At SAP, marketing and IT team up for technology

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At software company SAP, the IT and marketing depart-ments have created a new approach to working together on marketing technology. Leading this effort are Andreas Starke and Nancy Fessatidis. Starke, business information officer (BIO) for marketing at SAP, is in a role created by CIO Oliver Bussman to provide a dedicated IT resource for marketing. SAP also has BIOs dedicated to sales, finance, HR and product. Starke leads a team of about a dozen people who are respon-sible for IT planning, project execution and security for the marketing department. “We're responsible for defining the IT requirements as they relate to marketing, working closely with IT and driving IT enablement and governance,” he said. Fessatidis, VP-marketing operations at SAP, is responsible for making sure marketing has the right data, systems and processes. “Before this role of BIO, marketing was going to IT with multiple requests—and we all competed for IT resources,” Fessatidis said. “When Andreas came in, it was a value-add for all of us. Now, [marketing] can go to one team who can rationalize all the requirements, eliminate redundancies and prioritize [IT needs] in terms of business importance.” Fessatidis manages a team of about 100 marketing operations people globally who are responsible for using marketing technology in such activities as building predictive dashboards, crunching marketing data and running marketing automation systems. “My team works closely with field marketing on a day-to-day basis,” Fessatidis said. “It usually starts with business pain points: Folks are worried about leads not getting into the system fast enough, leakages in the funnel or process breakage. Often there is a big realization that we have gaps in the technology. I work with Andreas to define the business requirements, then Andreas takes the lead with it.” SAP's marketing organization uses more than 100 different tools and technologies, including its own software and third-party solutions. “It's a wild mix of stuff,” Starke said. “Some of it is home-grown and some are existing products and solutions. [The technology] is used for branding, advertising, demand generation, and now we're moving up to an integrated marketing platform.” Fessatidis and Starke meet weekly for specific program updates and monthly with a steering committee to discuss marketing technology projects, but they are in constant contact. “Not a day goes by without us talking to each other in informal ways,” Fessatidis said. “A lot of times, when you're talking about a big technology implementation, it's not only about the technologies but, in order for the programs to be successful, there are often a lot of business transformation requirements.” —Kate Maddox
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