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Should CMO’s lead Digital Transformation in the enterprise?

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Should CMO’s lead Digital Transformation in the enterprise?

The subject of Digital Transformation has been central to discussions among C-Suite executives over recent years as enterprises seek to transform established practices with technology to improve customer satisfaction while realizing operational cost efficiencies. The effort can unlock benefits for both business and consumer. The digitally enabled enterprise hopes to improve customer experience and satisfaction, leading to new sources of sales and profits.

What role does the CMO play in this process? Should the CMO lead the digital transformation efforts of their enterprise, or should they play a secondary role to their colleagues in the C-Suite? As our new year of 2016, already dubbed “the year of the connected customer”, gets rolling, does the average CMO understand what it takes to become an innovative, digital leader?

2014 research completed by Accenture showed that CMO’s are responsible for digital transformation in a mere 1 percent of organizations. 35 percent reported the CEO is leading the effort, while the CTO and CIO were reported to lead the effort 23 and 22 percent respectively. You might be perplexed over these results. Isn’t connecting business to customers in the digital world a key marketing responsibility?

Clearly this is a superficial view. The first thing to consider is that executives are now managing a “connected enterprise” and macro level topics as digital transformation should be approached by a team of key stakeholders. We’re not sure that the CEO should be principally responsible for digital transformation. While the topic can be on his/her list of strategic initiatives, it seems that a cooperative effort by the marketing, technology, and operational leaders of the business would lead to practical results in shorter order.

Just as CMO’s were encouraged to becomes friends of the CFO over the past decade to realize better business results, this is the moment for CMO’s to take a broader view of all the impact points of digital transformation on the enterprise. This wave of disruptive change requires a well-rounded, visionary leader ready to take charge and CMO’s are wise to adopt an inclusive mindset if their vision for reaching the digital customer is to come to life in all touchpoints of the business.

Photo Credit: Jes



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