Forrester: Chief Digital Officers May Be All The Rage…For Now…Also…Are Enterprises Geared Up for Digital Disruption?

Burberry, Nike, Rolls-Royce. These are firms that understand true digital business, having embraced digital technologies to fundamentally alter the way they bring value to customers. But this list of leaders is short, and for most firms, the scope of digital transformation is vast with many challenges in the way. So where to begin? In a new Forrester report, analysts Martin Gill and Nigel Fenwick outline why digital transformation must start with a “digital leader” who brings together the functions that are most affected by and have the most influence on digital strategy.

But, not so fast if your mind jumped straight to hiring a chief digital officer (CDO). While the CDO may be all the rage, this exec isn’t necessarily the right choice for every organization. What’s more, Gill and Fenwick argue that the CDO’s role is only a transitory step in the digital business journey — with these C-level execs needing to be prepared to reassess their role on a periodic basis. Why? Because success most likely means that they aren’t needed anymore, leaving someone else on the exec team with responsibility for digital — while the CDO is left without a job. This isn’t necessarily bad news though. One CDO interviewed for the research went so far as to say, “It will be a personal success if ‘digital factory’ is killed by 2016.”

The full CDO report is available by clicking here.

Forrester also reports that when it comes to digital disruptions, most enterprises are not ready for prime time. The ability to use free platforms to create and roll out new ideas is not just compelling; it’s disruptive. And 90% of executives get it — digital disruption is real, powerful, and threatening. But according to a new Forrester report out today, the realities of big business hamper the opportunity that digital disruption generates. “Big companies that can’t agree on budgets and people to staff a disruptive effort will be stuck in meetings — while digital disruptors change the game from their living room,” writes Vice President and Principal Analyst James McQuivey.

What’s more is that while 65% of executives are excited about what digital will do for their companies, only 32% believe that their policies and practices will enable them to adapt. “Executives are too quick to assume that proof of digital disruption will be found in building an iPad app or achieving numerous ‘likes’ on Facebook,” notes McQuivey. “But this is not the case: Digital disruption is not about any particular technology or futuristic customer fantasy.” Instead, McQuivey maintains that firms know when the have achieved digital disruption when they have built deeper customer relationships, expanded total product experiences, and leveraged a dynamic process for learning what to give customers next. In the report, McQuivey outlines the three challenges that hamper digital disruption (and how to overcome them) and provides a framework for firms to take the next step.

To learn more about what it takes to organize your enterprise for digital disruption…click here.

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