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Question-Answer from the 2014 State of Digital Transformation Webinar

Jaimy Szymanski

Thanks to all who attended the 2014 State of Digital Transformation webinar! As we didn't have time to answer all viewer questions after the presentation, we've included our responses to the top inquiries below. If your question still remains unanswered, leave a comment, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible

The 2014 State of Digital Transformation [Slides]How important is that the CEO him/herself be actively using digital tools and platforms to understand the customer better and develop/drive a customer-centric organization? 


More important than the CEO using digital tools is his or her embracing them as a viable way of connecting with consumers. As audiences turn increasingly digital, they expect brands to be where they are, when they want them, with relevant content, experiences and outcomes at the ready. This vision must be supported from the top-down in order for digital transformation to permeate all levels of the organization. 

What can you interpret about the degree of digital transformation based on which executive is championing the initiative? 


Executive championing of digital transformation varies from one organization to the next of course. From CMOs to CIOs to, in some cases, CDOs or CXOs (Chief Experience Officers), different roles will champion efforts depending on the unique organizational structure and - more often than not - what department or area of expertise the change agent has risen from. The maturity or depth of digital transformation within an organization is dependent on the ability for a c-suite executive to connect disparate groups internally in order to deliver a seamless customer experience on all digital channels throughout the customer journey. Without doing so, its effect is limited.

How often does digital transformation involve going beyond marketing and IT into enterprise change management?


Digital transformation is a form of change management. Although marketing and IT are at the helm of many digital transformation efforts, we found through our research that other departments involved include: customer service and CRM (CX), HR, legal and compliance, and mobile. Digital transformation affects nearly every department within an organization, so all employees must be in support of its initiatives as core principles of their job responsibilities. 

In regard to the CDO and CXO roles, are they emerging at the C-suite level alongside the CMO and/or CIO, or are they reporting UNDER them? Or are they their proxies?


Companies that have a CDO or CXO role are among the most digitally mature. They organize these roles at the same level as CMO and CIO. We did not come across any companies that use them as proxies. The CMO and CDO are in lock-step, while the CXO and CIO often act in an advisory role for all initiatives to determine viability and ensure a seamless customer experience is maintained. 

Why do you believe digital transformation must begin with transforming company culture?


Many organizations are weighed down with internal politics and bureaucracy that lead to slow-changing processes. Often, this means that it takes convincing and proof through data and analytics to make the case for digital transformation and allocating resources toward digital channels. Without the internal support from leadership who believe that customers are currently transitioning toward a completely digital lifestyle, change agents will have difficulty in moving forward with the agility needed to adapt to quickly changing digital preferences. The case has to be made. It’s not going to be swift nor enterprise-wide in the beginning. Often companies focus efforts on pilots and in specific instances where the effect of change can be demonstrated.

In case you missed the webinar, you can view the replay or the slides on our SlideShare page