supply budgetChances are that if you work in supply chain related area like EDI, you're one or two steps away from the IT budget. That usually means that getting funding for supply chain projects is a competitive battle. But while you may think that IT holds the keys to the budget, there's probably another avenue you can pursue that can yield increased funding while also gaining support for making your supply chain run more smoothly.

Over the last couple years, technology has been creeping beyond the walls of IT. It started innocently enough when employees signed up for dropbox.com accounts so they could store documents where they could easily access them. Then the marketing department discovered SurveyMonkey.com and took it on themselves to generate surveys using a service that was not connected to their internal IT department. 

If you haven't noticed, recently the marketing department has its own set of applications and processes that it understands and uses on its own, without the help of IT. Whether this is the right way to do things or not is beside the point. The effect is that spending on technology is shifting and the marketing department's budget in many mid to large size organizations is as large as that of the IT division.

In cast you miss the point, marketing is a significant user of technology. They are accustomed to making technology decisions based on the company's need to satisfy its market. And they generally have the blessing of upper management in their actions because the choices they make have positive effects.

What does this mean for tight supply chain budgets?
The supply chain affects the way customers are served and their level of satisfaction. While the technology is certainly connected to IT infrastructure, there are plenty of tangential functions coming to the market that are externally based (SaaS / Cloud) and can be seen as at least marginally beneficial to marketing efforts. Consider how analytics and big data efforts are used. Typically the results are evaluated for planning how to meet customer demand, and meeting customer demand is critical to customer satisfaction - one of marketing's main goals.

As you're looking for additional funding for new projects next year, reorient your view of just what the project is about. It's possible you may find an ally in the marketing department that can devote part of its efforts to your projects.
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