IT Directors could lose much of their role and resources to e-commerce managers unless companies redefine the boundaries between the positions, e-commerce experts have warned.
The explosion of e-business spending within companies has set e-commerce chiefs on a potential collision course with IT directors, warned John White, chairman and chief executive of insurance industry consultancy Winchester White.
This may force companies to merge the e-commerce and IT director roles to help organisations drive forward their e-commerce strategy, White added.
"I think the clashes between IT directors and e-commerce mangers will be more of an issue," he said. "There will be a lot of territorial arguments."
With Web-enabled applications encroaching on sales, marketing and finance departments, companies could struggle to allocate separate e-commerce and IT budgets, White added.
Although there has been a long-running debate over the changing role of IT directors, little attention has been paid to the potential tensions between e-commerce managers and IT directors within the same company.
IT chiefs acknowledged that e-commerce would force companies to create new roles and responsibilities within and outside IT departments. But they also stressed that IT director and e-commerce manager posts need not be conflicting.
Margaret Smith, Legal & General's director of business technology and delivery, and former director for e-commerce, said, "When I was made director for e-commerce I said I thought the role would only exist for 18 months to two years. E-commerce managers should be someone taking a more strategic role and not so IT functional."
This was first published in September 2000