Harnessing digital game-changing talent
David Dumeresque, Partner, Tyzack Partners, says Digital Directors need to be not only visionaries, but also highly practical business people who can drive business forward.
One of the most striking affects of our current digital era on corporate life is the way Digital Directors – a relatively unknown ‘breed’ a mere decade ago – are gaining in importance. There is no doubt that this is a role which is evolving almost on a monthly basis, especially as management teams are still wrestling with who should own and control their corporate digital footprint.
Mondelez’ recent tie-in with Twitter is just one example of the increasingly weighty role social media is playing as executives search for cost-effective ways of reaching their target audiences.
In many UK organisations, responsibility for managing the corporate digital footprint still remains with either HR or the Chief Information Officer. However, as corporate digital technology is rapidly shifting to encompass marketing and sales functions, along with recruitment, procurement, R&D and many others, a different set of competencies and business-related expertise is now required.
In the United States, for example, such is the importance of the Chief Digital Officer (CDO)that the position reports directly to the CEO. One of the reasons for this is the significant impact user-generated content is having on the business as a whole. It is important for companies to clearly define who owns digital, because failure to do so gives rise to the development of digital differences within the organisation. Because communications can reach vast audiences very quickly, it is vital to ensure consistency and coherence of message throughout the entire organisation.
The CDO needs to be not only a visionary, but also a highly practical businessperson who can drive business forward by enhancing the experience of anyone coming into contact with the organisation. He/she must also being able to create the right business case for digital and that increased revenue and profitability are always at the heart of any new digital innovation.
As the importance of the digital era grows, UK chief executives should not be asking themselves if they need a Chief Digital Officer, but why they haven’t already appointed one.