Is Your Business Ready For A Digital Acceleration Team?

Empowering a central team to set digital strategy, provide common platforms, and provide specialist resources can help business units develop their digital maturity by embracing a set of common standards while still tailoring their customer experience to their specific market needs. Yet many central teams run into difficulty. They fail to clearly communicate their purpose and remit, they struggle to navigate the realities of corporate politics, and they forget to demonstrate their successes through clear metrics. CIOs looking to accelerate their firm's digital journey by building a digital acceleration team should first assess their organization's readiness and appetite (see Figure).

Digital accelerator checklist

For more on establishing a digital acceleration team, see my latest research: Your Company Needs A Digital Acceleration Team.

Previus post: Four Strategy Tips In The Age Of The Customer

Four Strategy Tips In The Age Of The Customer

Blog word cloudI just concluded six months of research looking at how firms plan strategy in the age of the customer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I concluded that companies that fail to adapt to increasingly powerful customers, and disruptive competition, will not simply face near-term disruption — they risk their long-term viability.

I also found evidence of firms making changes in how they plan business strategy. High-performing companies look at strategic planning as a continuous process with a focus on customer value and loyalty.

In my latest report on strategy, I identify new responsibilities for CIOs, CMOs, and business-unit leaders in strategic planning. The report focuses on three ways CIOs and CMOs must step up and serve as a shaper of customer-obsessed business strategy that generates greater loyalty and drives better performance.

To succeed in the future, CIOs need to collaborate effectively with peers across the C-suite, especially the CMO and business-unit leaders, to build strategies and a shared business technology agenda, focused on customer outcomes.

Here are four tips from the research:

1.     It's time to separate strategic planning from the annual budget cycle. Annual strategic plans hold firms back from quickly reacting to fast-evolving markets. While strategies must be funded, continuous test-and-learn approaches will more quickly reveal opportunities and weaknesses.

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Three Tips To Craft A Better Digital Vision

In the age of the customer, your company must exploit digital assets in order to deliver world-class customer experiences and compete effectively. But moving the business from its traditional roots toward digital mastery requires the executive team to paint a compelling digital business vision.
 
Based on my latest research published in March — How To Craft A Better Digital Vision — here are three suggestions to help your firm develop a compelling digital vision:
 
1. Illustrate what customers will value in the future. The way your customers derive value from your products and services today will not be the same in the future. Your business will need to use digital technology to create new sources of value. Instead of simply designing a physical product or service to be used by a customer to satisfy a need, your firm must reimagine your products and services as digital services enhanced by physical products and people. Customer perceptions of value will be shaped by the digital experiences you create to help them achieve their desires. Your digital vision must help employees understand this shift.
 
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The CIO And Digital Business

Digital footprintOver the past year, there has certainly been plenty of press coverage surrounding the emergence of the new “Chief Digital Officer” (CDO). And the research we published in 2013 on the CDO role does identify how some firms can potentially benefit from a CDO role working alongside the CMO and CIO. But I’m beginning to see more business-savvy CIOs follow Starbucks' ex-CIO Stephen Gillett’s example and step up to lead digital strategy and digital initiatives.

In fact, CIOs with experience in marketing and/or business-unit leadership — especially eBusiness — are well equipped to lead the future digital transformation journey in many companies. They understand business strategy; they can relate to the outside-in customer view; and they already have an enterprise perspective.

OK, so there are not many CIOs out there today with this kind of experience (my estimate is around 20%) — but this is exactly the kind of CIO that CEOs need to hire in the future.

So let’s not get too hung up on titles — what really matters is the ability to combine a deep understanding of the customer with an understanding of how digital technology will drive new sources of customer value.

That’s the focus of a new series of reports we’ve just published (see below). The reports help digital-savvy CIOs work with business leaders to create a clear vision for what it means to be a digital business and start down the path toward digital business transformation.

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My Top Ten And What It Means For Getting Your Own Metrics Right

Every so often I check my blog stats to see what you, the reader, find most interesting - my goal is to continue to bring you great content in both my blog and my research. While I was looking back over my blog stats I thought you might like to see the top ten blog posts in case you missed any of them. But just how should I assess the top ten? Like all outcome metrics, this one is open to interpretation. 

I could take the simple route and just count which posts have the most reads (Table 1a). But that would fail to take into account how many days it has been since the blog was published - it stands to reason that older blog posts might garner more reads. So a ranking based on the number of reads divided by the number of days the post has been online would yield a more accurate result in terms of most read post (See Table 1b - Top ten most read posts)*.

Table 1a - Top Ten Most read Posts


1 Unleash Your Digital Business
2 The Secret Of Successful Social Communities: 4 Social Needs
3 Why Customer Experience Will Become The #1 CIO Priority
4
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Four Lessons In Digital Business

Making Sense Of Digital Business: Four Can’t Miss Reports From 2014

In 2013 I wanted to help executives understand some of the fundamental changes that are happening in business because of the digital revolution. Big names capture the attention of the media – who in the USA could have failed to hear about the collapse of Blockbuster or Borders? Who in the UK could have failed to hear of the demise of HMV? When writing about these failures, most analysts highlight the disruptive companies that put them out of business; companies like Netflix, Amazon and Apple. But I wanted to know if there was something more fundamental going on that impacts the ability of an incumbent to defend against digital disruptors. So in 2013 I set out to research digital business successes and failures in an effort to uncover the secrets of digital mastery.

I captured insights from my research in reports published in 2014. Here’s my pick of the top four you should read to gain a deeper understanding of digital business (these reports are available to existing Forrester clients, non-clients can purchase them individually or download a summary from this page):

#1 The Future Of Business Is Digital  - The results of 18 months of research into what lies behind successful digital businesses were first published in March in this report. Originally published for CMOs and CEOs, the report was subsequently republished for CIOs as “Unleash your Digital Business”. This report highlights how digital business differs from traditional business; provides an overview of the customer’s dynamic ecosystems of value; and offers six strategies to help transform any business into a digital business.

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Free Enterprise Software On The Horizon

Free software in exchange for dataHubSpot's announcement of a free CRM suite coming in 2015 may be a harbinger of change for CIOs.

The digital economy is different from the economy of our parents' generation: Everything moves faster; customer expectations evolve almost overnight; new digitally enabled products open new opportunities; companies can scale at a pace that would have been impossible twenty years ago; and data has tangible value.

Now that companies like Salesforce.com have proven the cloud-based software model, CIOs embrace software-as-a-service (SaaS) as a viable option. The idea of paying for only what you use entices CIOs as budgets are squeezed. With a SaaS model it is much easier for CIOs to pass along software costs to each business unit P&L or departmental budget.

But why would a rapidly growing company like HubSpot — a provider of inbound marketing tools to the SMB market — launch a new CRM solution as a “freemium” offering?

The answer lies in one of the key changes brought about by the digital economy: Customer acquisition trumps revenue generation when establishing a digital business — revenue generation will come later and not necessarily from traditional sources.

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The US Federal Digital Services Playbook

Last month I wrote a short blog post introducing the new US Digital Services Playbook. I'm happy to announce that we're going to be publishing a series of short reports that take a closer look at the CIO's role in implementing the plays in the playbook.

The first of these client briefs, published today, summarizes why we believe CIOs should study the playbook and incorporate its plays into their team's standard operating practices.

The remaining briefs will take each of the four play categories and drill down into the implications for the CIO and their teams.

Next post: Free Enterprise Software On The Horizon

Previous post: The CIO, CMO, And Digital Leadership 

The US digital services playbook's thirteen plays

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CIO, CMO, And Digital Leadership

digital business demands a healthy CMO CIO partnershipThe 2014 CMO/CIO Survey in conjunction with Forbes offers an opportunity for your voice to be heard in our research.

Back in 2011 I asked if marketing was the biggest opportunity for CIOs since the Internet. Here we are three years later and we're once again conducting our CMO/CIO survey in partnership with Forbes to assess the health of the CIO and CMO partnership. Since I started my research into high-performing companies, I've consistently found a strong CIO/CMO partnership to be essential to success. This is true in leading customer experience companies and leading digital businesses. What's increasingly apparent is that to succeed in the age of the customer, CEOs depend upon their CMO and CIO to connect customer insights to business outcomes through business technology — the technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers. The 2014 CMO/CIO research once again examines the partnership between these two critical roles — and you're invited to share your perspectives. (Update: The survey is now closed).

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