Six Key Steps to Build a Successful Digital Business

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Step 2: Put the right leaders in place.

The fast-moving digital world is exposing gaps in digital leadership, especially with regard to front office disciplines (those related to the customer experience) and head-office disciplines (those related to enterprise strategy). Three types of digital business leader have emerged to fill these leadership gaps:

  • The digital strategist
  • The digital marketing leader
  • The digital business unit leader 

"These are roles and not necessarily titles," said Lee Weldon, research director at Gartner. "The title chief digital officer (CDO) is being used for each of these roles — to date, most often for the digital marketing leader — although the CDO title is best used for the digital strategist. Some CIOs play the digital strategist role already, so it is the most natural digital leadership role for CIOs to evolve into." 

These roles are likely to be around for the next five to 10 years, but are really just interim positions. This is because digital will simply become a part of the way we do everything soon, making a single, separate role dedicated to digital initiatives inappropriate, if not impossible. More generally, there will be significant innovation in the way businesses are managed and led in the next decade or two. While three discrete roles are optimal, one person could play multiple roles, and the people fulfilling these roles could also have other responsibilities.

Digital business is changing the way organizations use and think about technology, moving technology from a supporting player to a leading player in innovation, revenue and market growth, according to Gartner, Inc. However, digital business should not be considered an IT program and should instead become an enterprise mindset and lingua franca, with digital expertise spread across the enterprise and value ecosystem. 

Gartner predicts that a lack of digital business competence will cause 25 percent of businesses to lose competitive ranking by 2017. 

"CIOs or IT professionals hear 'digital business' and think 'IT' will be blindsided," said Ken McGee, vice president and Gartner Fellow. "Digital business is not synonymous with IT. It is about revenue, value, markets and customers. It is outward-focused. It is a metaphorical combination of front office, top line and downstage compared with back office, bottom line and backstage. True, information and technology help to build the capabilities for digital businesses, but they are only part of a complex picture." 

"Businesses have used information and digital technology for some time as sources of efficiency and productivity," continued Mr. McGee. "However, in a digital business, digital technology, for the first time, moves into the forefront, into the heart of what the business is doing and how it generates revenue, seizes competitive advantage and produces value. Digital business represents a more extreme revolution than previous technology-driven changes, and CIOs, with their insight into technology and information, are positioned to develop and promote a successful digital business." 

Gartner has identified six crucial steps that will enable CIOs and other business leaders to build a successful digital enterprise and change the game. 

 

Related Topics : A Big Market for Big Data Jobs, Midmarket CIO, IT Management Automation, SharePoint, Technology Markets

 
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