Global businesses can often find they have multiple digital strategies across their organisation. Whether this be by geography in an attempt to disrupt a local market, across central functions due to implementing a process improvement, or from a (perceived) central digital strategy approved at board level. The lack of unification can only lead to issues; escalating costs, doubling of resource effort, possibly working in the same areas, selection, development and deployment of multiple technology platforms. Clearly someone needs to take control.
When taking on a digital strategy, 19% of the worlds top 2,500 companies appointed a Chief Digital Officer. This may not sound like many, but it is significant in terms of how seriously businesses are taking Digital Transformation - and it’s the bigger, more serious players, who are doing this.
The reason for this new appointment, and inevitable top-down re-structuring is two-fold; firstly to get hold of, and be responsible/accountable for the all of the digital initiatives within the business. Only when digital objectives are aligned can a business ensure they are not spending twice on cost/resource, or unnecessarily bringing multiple technologies into their estate. Secondly building an organisation around execution of a digital strategy is the only way to achieve success. Running out disparate initiatives within single business units or geographies will always result in confusion, over-run budgets and dramatically reduce chances of success.
Technology is obviously key to a successful digital strategy, but it’s the people behind it which make it work, and objective alignment on an organisational level is critical to setting them up for success.
“For a growing number of companies, it’s just not feasible any longer to spread out various digital efforts among separate business units,” says Pierre Peladeau, a leading digital practitioner and study co-author with Strategy&, partner with PwC France. “It may work during early stages of digitalization, but as a company moves toward a more advanced stage of digital maturity, a unified approach is needed to execute a more comprehensive digital strategy.”