The debate between who “owns” the Web – Information Technology or Communications – is dead.
Regardless of which unit in your organization is accountable (government-word for “owns”) for your website, the best results come from multidisciplinary teams working together.
You can’t have great Web content without great writers and useful content, and you can’t leverage technology to serve it up to people when and where they want it, without knowledgeable techies.
Having worked at the intersection of IT and Comms most of my career I have seen myriad ways that organizations have chosen to structure the employees and groups who work on getting content and services online. One thing is for sure: I have yet to see an organizational structure that guarantees success.
What does seem to matter — regardless of who sits where or reports to whom — when you have knowledgeable, motivated staff who communicate with each other across boundaries to reflect, research, debate and problem solve; that’s the ideal structure. Clear roles, good planning, open communication, colleagues who trust and respect each other and having the right skills around the table all contribute to a successful Web project (and make for a great place to work I might add.)
Web outputs and processes should be managed across an organization in the same way that each team manages their own piece of HR, finance or other corporate functions. For each of these areas, there are many people and groups that need to do at least one thing well to reach their objectives.
Of course there is more nuance than this short post implies. While I question the relevance of the IT/Comms debate, I encourage continued discussion about the internal factors that lead to a great website.
Does your organization have a great website? What’s your secret?