How To Introduce Your Web Agency To Your IT Team 

If you own or manage a small organization or business, be it nonprofit or for-profit, you have likely hired both an IT company to manage your internal network, email, and company technology, and a digital agency to strategically represent your brand online. 

 

Eventually, your IT team and your design agency will collide, er… collaborate, to ensure all systems go in a smooth and integrated manner.

compare IT and digital agency roles

IT companies usually have highly specific skill sets in setting up your phone systems, cabling, email networks, office computers, software management, office internet, wifi, routers, etc. This is definitely the kind of stuff you don’t want to do yourself unless you are a techno-geek who keeps up with that world for fun.

Your web or digital marketing agency is primarily focused on online strategy, website building, website maintenance, mobile app development, and social media marketing. If this is the case, it’s quite likely that some point, their domains will overlap and it may start to feel like they’re stepping on each other’s toes, especially when it gets to areas like website hosting, DNS, subdomains, and external services that need integration. 

Let’s start with the assumption that both your IT and web teams are professionals, each with their area of expertise, responsibilities, and loyalties. Let’s also assume that you, the manager or business owner, do not understand any of this tech speak. How do you ensure that they play nice together without pulling you into their drama?

IT staff and web agency conflict

Here’s an example: Your web agency wants your domain managed on an IPV6-friendly domain registrar such as Google Domains and they want to set up https rules on Cloudflare. Your IT team has historically managed the domain settings and they’re perfectly happy with their old IPV4 domain registrar and they don’t appreciate the web team trying to take control of what they thought of as their area of expertise. The web team says “We’re the experts.” But, your IT teams tells you the same thing and they don’t seem to agree on the next steps. You, meanwhile, don’t actually understand what either of them is saying but it seems like they’re asking you to pick sides and make a choice.

What has happened here is that their expertise has some overlap and the possibility exists for each team to potentially screw up settings the other manages that are vital for something, such as your email server settings, or the website settings. 

How can your IT provider and digital agency move forward in a way that serves your needs best?

As with any conflict, the two teams need to talk to each other and attempt to understand the big picture, the goals, and what each is trying to accomplish. The goal should be a win-win, for you, the client.

We recommend that you, the owner or manager, ensure that you are actually the owner and admin of all of your services (DNS, hosting, etc) and that you manage the passwords and access yourself. Then you delegate access to your IT team and web team so that you can control the access in the future should you hire different vendors.

Side note: we highly recommend the use of a password manager such as 1Password, Dashlane, or LastPass and you, as the organization manager or owner, need to control all of your account passwords and access.

password applications

Bottom line, this is a tricky relationship in which each side is naturally suspicious of the other, so the best thing to do is to introduce your IT vendor to your digital agency early on in the working relationship, way before they might need to collaborate. They should have a chat and share info openly so that each understands what and how they are managing technical details and what they might have planned for six months down the road. That way, there’s a foundation of understanding and mutual respect, and a communication channel is established before something urgent arises.  

IT and web agency cooperation

We recommend that you ask your IT and digital agency vendors to:

  • Keep you, the client, looped in on all emails and communication.
  • Collaborate for the greater good of the client’s benefit.
  • Cooperate productively.
  • Take in each other’s concerns.
  • Do not complain to the client unless all civil possibilities are exhausted.

Has this happened to you? We’d love to hear how it went and if you had challenges, how you resolved them. If you are looking for a Digital Agency that has experience cooperating with IT teams – please contact us.

Rachel Panush
by Rachel Panush
Rachel is the Senior Lead Project Manager at Executionists Inc. in Marina del Rey, CA.
Posted: June 27, 2019