As marketing departments transition to using social media, the public cloud, CRM, analytics and mobility-based targeting of customers the big question is: Who should be leading these initiatives? Should it be IT? Or should it be marketing? Should it be both? This was subject of a task force created by CIO magazine. The task force, which consists of leading IT leaders, also debated the topic at the Year Ahead program. Gopal Rangaraj, senior vice president-information technology, Reliance Life Sciences, said he believes that while IT must support customer outreach initiatives, it must be driven by marketing teams. “In my experience, those campaigns are more successful.” Sumit Chowdhury, CIO, Reliance Industries, agreed and stressed that collaboration between the two departments was key. “Business engagement teams that are both business and tech-savvy can help bridge the gap between IT and marketing,” he said. The panel agreed that with the explosion of mobile, social and cloud technologies, IT must shift its focus to helping the business sift through big data and collect real intelligence and actionable insights. However, they also agreed that a shortage of skills in the field of data science is a big challenge. There is a need for specialized skills in analytics and the ability to interpret the data to ask the right questions which will lead business to the right answers, they said.