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Who in Your C-Suite Is in Charge of Digital Transformation?

Without a doubt, there is a need to redefine the role of the marketer for the digital age. But that's not sufficient. Digital is not limited to marketing, change has to originate from the C-Suite to actively lead the transformation to the social business.

The Case for the CDO

A good contribution to the topic is the report The Case for the Chief Digital Officer (free download) by Ex-Constellation Researcher Peter Kim, who - interestingly - has since become CDO at Cheil Worldwide. Talk about defining your own role.

Peter argues that the CDO needs to be separate from the CMO and CIO role to bridge the gap between marketing and IT. Reporting directly to the CEO, the CDO, will be responsible for digital disruption by driving a "digital-first mindset".

The report quotes Benny Landa, who predicted in the 90s that "everything that can be digital will be digital." As this appears to be correct, businesses now have to figure out how to leverage "digital" to create customer value or risk being left behind.

Code Halos

This view fits in with the world described in the book Code Halos by Cognizant:

"Every digital click, swipe, "like," buy, comment, and search produces a unique virtual identity – something we call a Code Halo™. While Code Halos are important to each of us, they are becoming increasingly vital to the success of every business."

According to CodeHalos, for a business to create a winning solution:

  • A supporting business model is crucial.
  • "If it costs more than $50 and you can't eat it, put a Code Halo around it".

Beyond the Case for the CDO

Since Peter Kim's report about the CDO, Ray Wang, Founder of Constellation Research, has evolved the concept in line with the Code Halos model.

For the Slideshare deck, Seven Design Rules for Digital Transformation and Digital Business, Ray chose the unambiguous sub-title "More than a Chief Digital Officer, we need Digital CXO's".

Here the Abbreviated 7 Rules that Explain Why a CXO is Needed:

Rule 1:

Digital disruption is more than just a technology shift. It’s about transforming business models and how organizations engage. The goal is to create transformational business models.

Rule 2:

We move from selling products and services to keeping brand promises. Time to market, pricing, and product differentiation are not enough in a digital world. .

Rule 3:

Forget millenials, Gen-X, Gen-Y, baby boomers and others. How we communicate, the values we share, and how we interact with technology stem from our digital proficiency.

Rule 4:

Data is the foundation of digital business. Every touch point, every click, every digital exhaust is relevant insight.

Rule 5:

If 20 % of your revenue is not an insight stream by 2020, you won’t have a digital biz model.

Rule 6:

You need more than a CDO to infuse digital into your organization. You need a broad bench of Digital CXO’s.

Rule 7:

We must invest in digital artisans. Concurrently, a market will develop for those who can spread the digital business gospel and infuse digital artistry into organizations.

Read Ray's full post with more great insights here.

A special thanks to Ray, for allowing me to use his firm's research in this blog. Ray is a great analyst as well as a kind and supportive spirit!

Further Reading:

digital transformation / shutterstock

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