Digital Transformation: New Roles and Challenges

Actualizado: 10 may 2021

Companies born with a Digital DNA are taking over the market. Digital Transformation begins when you start creating a transformative vision of what your organization will look like in the digital world.

Citizens of the Digital Age Of course, it scares enterprises for its very nature. It goes against all management methods that companies have been practicing for centuries, as decision-making switch from top-down to peer-to-peer. In decision-making processes we’ve seen how traditional leadership roles evolve, as silos break down and the scopes of various roles broaden and change. The strongest impact on sales is that it´s all more and more about engaging with people and joining them in their buyer's journey. Understanding where they are today and what are their new challenges will help us understand how we can approach them and move forward in their decision-making proceses. In a recent report from Altimeter, analysts found that CMOs lead the transformation in 34% of companies; CIOs and CTOs, who are expected to be the leaders, only led in 19% of companies, while CEOs led in 27%. Some companies are introducing a new role, the Chief Digital Officer (CDO), who is explicitly in charge of leading the digital transformation of the organization. New Role and Challenges of the CMO It makes sense for CMOs (Chief Marketing Officer) to be responsible for leading the digital transformation inside the company as they have always been the ones providing insight into customers’needs and habits and the ones interacting with prospects. They understand the real power of new digital channels but they often also look at the company in a marketing-centric way, without a transversal view on other fundamentals of the company. The 3 main challenges for the new CMOs are:

  1. Prioritize the customer experience: Forrester Research defined a customer experience-oriented company as an enterprise that focuses its strategy, energy and budget on processes that enhance the knowledge of and engagement with customers”. The customer must be central in all kind of changes and CMOs perfectly knows this mantra.

  2. ROI of Digital Transformation: CMOs need to make use of all the information he has accessed and the KPIs to demonstrate ROI of digital initiatives and define how digital evolution will play a role in reaching business objectives and deliver long-term value to the business.

  3. Managing information: Going digital means the availability of a lot of information, that’s why some companies entered into the Big Data territory.

Some of the most successful companies consider Data as the core of everything they do. Real-time market feedback, website analytics and other sources of data become critical to help C-levels to determine how effective their efforts are being and what are the following actions required. New Role and Challenges of the CIO CIOs (Chief Information Officer) understand technology and are familiar with the IT strategy and platforms, but digital transformation has more to do with Business than it has with IT. CIOs are the ones who are facing with the most important challenge: the disintermediation of IT. This could be deployed in 3 main challenges:

  1. CIOs are not anymore in full control of their IT spending budgets: This growing loss of control reflects the move away from a centralized IT to a decentralized IT - where CIOs operate in distributed IT environments. CIOs must prepare for much more business engagement and disruption with traditional IT.

  2. Shadow IT: With a wide range of departments deploying new technologies – like cloud, IoT, BYOD, XaaS models widely available and the invasion of apps into the very core of the business – outside of the IT department’s knowledge, security becomes the main concern. New vulnerabilities and the potential for greater losses emerge. Many IT functions lack the capability to scale up quickly, so it becomes even more difficult for them to meet these new “foreign” demands.

  3. Time-to-market: Did I say that Time-to-market impact CIOs? Yes, it’s critical as businesses compete on how quickly digital innovations get to consumers. Digitization requires increasingly sophisticated technology to improve companies’ operations and interactions with their customers and clients. To mention an example, Netflix’s recommendation system is able to analyze terabytes of data to successfully recommend 70% of customer choices.

CDO...Do you know him? CDOs are the most recent addition to the C-suite. In 2016, an increasing number of Fortune 500 companies added a CDO, whose cross-functional tasks can be summarized in just 3 words: Adapt, disrupt, transformThis new CDO’s role is all about taking care of digital innovation, both externally - in the companies’ interactions with customers, partners, and suppliers - and internally - collecting and analyzing data, improving efficiency through the use of digital technologies, and transforming organization and culture to enable companies to compete successfully in the Digital Age. How could you finally find the Digital Leadership? Talking about “ownership” of the transformation is a futile debate. It’s all about partnerships among different people – not only the mentioned ones, but also CTOs and CEOs need a holistic view of the digital threats and opportunities of the business, and a way to link them in an overall vision for how digital is reshaping the competitive landscape. All CXOs must break down silos between departments and cultural barriers and leading digital initiatives in the future together. Likewise, in Sales and Marketing it’s time to transform the Go-To-Market approach by taking these factors into consideration.


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