April 22, 2014
Most large companies and corporations have a CIO (Chief Information Officer), a CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), and a COO (Chief Operations Officer). Because they represent separate departments with separate budgets, each often has separate goals and initiatives. They have separate employees and work in separate offices and receive separate evaluations. Sure, they are expected to be good neighbors and so, they collaborate over their virtual fences when necessary. Yet, all too frequently their interests are also separate. Separation leads to ownership and ownership can lead to protectiveness and protectiveness to stagnation.
A relatively new role has emerged just below the c-suite– the Director of Digital Strategy, who is charged with overseeing a company’s implementation and use of digital technology. While this is a good idea and has proven to be an effective position, I think it hits the target but misses the bull’s-eye.
At the intersection of IT, Operations, and Marketing is your company’s “Digital Maturity,” which is an indicator of your likelihood to successfully innovate. How well your company leverages technology to enable efficient operations, develop products and services, and market through digital media are important to this assessment. But, how well these functions are integrated is the key to successful integration. Once you recognize that these functions are not really separate, but, rather, parts of the same, you can unlock greater efficiency, profitability, innovation, and competitive advantage. Thus, I give you the CDO (Chief Digital Officer), charged with the overall digital strategy and the evolution, innovation and cross-integration of systems and their departments.
In truth, the idea of the CDO isn’t new. Digital integration has been quietly happening for years and continues to pick up speed. However, more and more companies are finding that the having a CDO gives them a distinct advantage. Still, the position has its detractors. For example:
Here, Arjun Sethi (Partner, A.T. Kearney) writes in Bank Systems & Technology, “Think about it: digital disruption will force a formerly slow, conservative, top-down industry to become more nimble and customer-focused. Should that transformation be managed by new top-down structures, with a single individual charged with changing behaviors throughout the organization?”
He concludes, “You could try to hire an incredibly talented central figure to stay on top of all of them. But you might be better off fostering a well-coordinated team with responsibilities dispersed to those close to the situation they’re monitoring.”
I don’t wholly disagree with Mr. Sethi. In fact, I feel that well-coordinated teams close to the situations they are monitoring are essential. However, these ideas—that of a traditional Centralized Organizational framework and that of the more nimble Hub & Spoke organization model—are not mutually exclusive.
Consider the reason for these structures in the first place. Without them, an organization of a certain size will collapse under its own weight. Without a CDO (or someone at the top with these same responsibilities), teams will tend to develop their individual ideas separately. From this, you’ll get a lot of little innovations that are not always coordinated as well as the potential for the innovations to compete with each other. This situation can create “turf wars” that actually hinder your company’s growth.
The nimble collaboration we all hope to achieve needs to be encouraged and well managed for large-scale innovation to take place. The CDO ensures that this happens in the most efficient and effective way. In fact, that is why a CDO is a c-suite position. In this era of “digital disruption,” many organizations, particularly large ones, have technical needs that are constantly changing. Someone must plan for, monitor, and manage these factors continually, and that person needs the power of a c-suite position to make the changes necessary to maximize the benefits.
For companies not quite ready to make this organizational, c-suite change, there are vendors who will perform a “digital assessment.” A digital assessment is a survey of an organization’s technical systems and initiatives, which results in recommendations aimed at coordination and improvement. Often, these vendors can help you implement meaningful change, vastly improving a company’s systems. However, what you won’t get is a full-time, high-level executive to provide long-term leadership.
For that, companies are turning to CDO’s. Change in digital technology, media, and marketing is happening faster today than it ever has before. Having someone who can help you manage that change can help you leap ahead of your competition.
Would you want your #ad to run before a terrorist propaganda piece? It happened to Hyundai & it could happen to you… https://t.co/G2i2mNgkef
March 28 - 8:31 pm - View on Twitter
Our Director of Video Operations offers insight into the world of #VirtualReality: https://t.co/VE4cO1iciV https://t.co/k81r8hNhpk
March 21 - 7:49 pm - View on Twitter
Did you miss this week's Insight Tuesday? Graphic designer Carrie Nestel explores the importance of packaging: https://t.co/uZ0XD7NY51
March 9 - 4:14 pm - View on Twitter
Check out our CEO's insight into the Ad-Blocking cold war that is being waged between marketers and their audiences: https://t.co/b8CSJw3IjT
March 1 - 7:10 pm - View on Twitter
Account Exec. Leigh Cesanek pulls together some of Sunday night's most memorable #ads & speculates who really won: https://t.co/uxFDg8YmtK
February 7 - 8:41 pm - View on Twitter
Our CEO reflects on reasons we are not achieving the level of clarity that big data should be providing. Read it: https://t.co/Xap3aIysa7
January 31 - 9:59 pm - View on Twitter
Our CEO offers insights into the benefits of 'non-investments,' such as the annual family vacation he takes. https://t.co/NSJtyKRbEI
January 18 - 5:00 pm - View on Twitter
Use #socialmedia to spark meaningful discussions about the things your company cares about: https://t.co/4LrNHuLUOa
January 10 - 8:00 pm - View on Twitter
Paul Federico talks about a unique art show he is a part of, in which the individuality of the artist can shine:… https://t.co/C9kbQf7g8n
December 27 - 8:00 pm - View on Twitter
The Princeton Partners team wishes you a joyful holiday season! Watch our holiday video here:… https://t.co/n6tlEOpmXO
December 21 - 8:29 pm - View on Twitter
We're in the holiday spirit! Take PPI's quiz on the hilarious holiday classic, 'Elf.' https://t.co/0uAbOsWsNl https://t.co/DLU01euQtk
December 20 - 9:08 pm - View on Twitter
Our CEO discusses the strategic planning meeting he attended w. @PHAnews & why the White House Garden inspired him:… https://t.co/NJGXmBVq8G
December 13 - 8:58 pm - View on Twitter
Our CEO created a brief quiz to test your knowledge of financial literacy in the US. The results may surprise you: https://t.co/uVwDP9ECzp
December 6 - 8:49 pm - View on Twitter
Associate Creative Director, Aaron, has come up with ten #gifts to avoid giving your #clients this holiday season:… https://t.co/BL1Q6G5lvk
November 29 - 9:15 pm - View on Twitter
Tim Burr weighs in on the the viral mess that New Balance is currently dealing with since a Tweet was misunderstood… https://t.co/j2B4UdrftD
November 22 - 8:00 pm - View on Twitter
Check out our CEO, Tom Sullivan, on the homepage of @NJBIZ this morning for an 'Industry Insights' piece:… https://t.co/WxFVAoUvK2
November 22 - 3:15 pm - View on Twitter
Check out the latest in our blog series the "Intern Spotlight" & get to know digital development intern, Gabriela.… https://t.co/cgazIIY6Fc
November 21 - 4:15 pm - View on Twitter
Following the election, many people are feeling anxious about the future. Our CEO suggests taking local action: https://t.co/xP9r4v2F6e
November 15 - 8:10 pm - View on Twitter
We had Chris's daughter, Ellie, visit us in the office today. She helped us with website coding and even took us ou… https://t.co/YUCgbBuLpi
November 11 - 9:33 pm - View on Twitter
Our VP of media shares his experience & main take-away from last week's industry conference, ad:tech. Check it out… https://t.co/3Ox0AuznMZ
November 8 - 9:31 pm - View on Twitter