Video: Do data and analytics need a board level champion?

Digital is now too important to be left as a subset of someone else’s job description, argues MeetTheBoss TV’s Ben Thompson. All hail the Chief Digital Officer.

Regardless of a company’s vertical market focus, your marketers are only as
good as the data that underpins their plans. It’s a key asset – perhaps an organisation’s most critical currency.

Increasingly, that data is being generated via digital channels – ecommerce, mobile, social media. And as a result there is growing recognition that digital is now too important to be left as a subset of someone else’s job description.

It’s why we’re seeing a rise in the number of Chief Digital Officers entering the boardroom. As digital increasingly plays a more central role in how firms develop their business models, it will move out from under the aegis of the marketing or IT teams and become more horizontal, touching every aspect of the business.

Analyst firm Gartner feels that the role will prove to be one of the most exciting strategic roles in the decade ahead, playing in the space where the enterprise meets the customer, where the revenue is generated, and where much of the innovation is taking place. An increasing number of firms are recognising that having a digital strategy is critical – and still more are starting to acknowledge that it needs to be aligned with the core business goals of the organisation. It’s no longer bolted on, or dismissed as new or unproven. The CDO has a real opportunity to shape and define the strategic direction of the business moving forward.

And while the role might be relatively short-lived as digital becomes more firmly embedded into every aspect of the business – we no longer feel the need to employ Chief Electricity Officers, for instance, but once upon a time they were a key part of every corporate leadership team – few firms are at that stage just yet.

Until then, digital will need C-level representation if firms are to successfully navigate the disruption all around them. So until it becomes everybody’s business – or like electricity, no-one’s business, at least inside the enterprise – digital will increasingly become a full-time job
with senior, board-level accountability.  All hail the chief digital officer.

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