Give your digital transformation the best chance to succeed. Start it now (if you haven’t already) and put your CMO in charge.
Who in your organization is best positioned to take point and bring it into a new digital era?
The concept of digital transformation is not a new one, as technology has been used to augment business functions since the dawn of the computer age. It’s been a favorite business buzzword for well over a decade. Digital transformation means different things to different companies, and every organization must custom-craft their integration of technology in a way that increases productivity and improves communication with internal and external parties.
Altimeter did a good job of defining digital transformation last year: “The realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touch-point in the customer experience lifecycle.” In most cases, the goals of digital transformation include better engagement with an increasingly digital customer base, greater collaboration with internal resources, and improved efficiency across the organization.
Every business of significant size is attempting a digital transformation, but we as digital marketing recruiters often see they’re not all succeeding. Without a cohesive game plan and forward-thinking digital leaders, many are struggling to effectively adopt the new technologies and policies needed to complete the metamorphosis.
Which begs the question: who in your organization is best positioned to take point and bring it into a new digital era?
With that in mind, before you rush your company headlong into digital transformation, set yourself up for success by planning each decision carefully and brainstorming with department heads for a common solution that improves all company processes. The advantages of digital transformation are huge, but only if you have a clear vision for the future state of your business and a strategy to get there.
Change from the Top Down
We’ve seen plenty of companies jump into digital transformation when the CEO says that it is a priority, but they miss out on the full benefits because there is no further executive engagement.
When it comes to sweeping change requiring a technical and cultural mind-shift, initial and ongoing executive sponsorship is essential. Executives at the highest level need to lead by example and issue clear instructions to those under their direction. Roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined from the beginning, and a project plan set up to keep everyone on track. A reference architecture with responsibility maps and representation from each business unit is also critical.
Why Your CMO Should Lead the Charge
Transformation isn’t easy for any organization, and the larger it is the more difficult things become. It’s hard to overcome entrenched processes, established internal territories, corporate politics and the like. Executive sponsorship and mediation is essential for pushing through perceived territorial or budgetary disputes between departments.
Some companies allow the Chief Information Officer ultimate direction the entire digital transformation process. But consider the core objectives of most companies’ evolutions: better engagement with digital customers (which in turn translates to higher revenue and increased profits). If that’s the case, isn’t the CMO better poised to lead your company to that goal?
As increasing productivity is the goal, it is in everyone’s best interest to achieve this objective by any means necessary.
The top transformation initiatives are usually related to increasing the efficiency/effectiveness of businesses digital platforms, web and mobile sites/applications, social media, and customer-facing technology systems. All of these are intrinsically tied to marketing.
Even if the CMO may not know the technical complexities involved (though nowadays most CMOs probably should at least have a general idea), he or she can identify shortcomings in existing processes and request IT solutions to fix them. In this way, IT comes up with a solution that works for the business, and indicates how much it will cost.
SAP CMO Jonathan Becher Talks about Managing Complexity in Digital Transformation
As increasing productivity is the goal, it is in everyone’s best interest to achieve this objective by any means necessary. In some cases, it’s likely that third party solutions will be required, as big data and cloud expertise are not always available in-house.
Once the technological infrastructure is put in place, it falls on marketing to leverage the investment properly. But it requires the rest of the organization’s buy-in to successfully complete the transformation.
Identifying Your Transformation Needs
Digital transformation is part of a larger business transformation program and each company will implement it according to their own requirements, which could include some or all of the following:
- Big data and its use
- Data security
- Data privacy legislative and compliance issues
- “Bring-Your-Own-Device” and e-discovery policies
- Social media
- Mobile computing
- Cloud features for sales, support or internal use
Companies need to recognize that digital transformation is a paradigm shift that spans all levels of the business. All departments are included to maximize success and allow for a smooth transition in your digital processes.
Preparation is the key to success in any transformative initiative. Throughout the process, always keep your customers in mind. After all, you are taking the journey together. This way, everyone can enjoy the ride.
Article source: Forbes
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