November 17, 2016
Digital Transformation seems like it would fall squarely on the shoulders of the CIO, or perhaps the CTO. A case could be made for the CEO being the driving force behind such transformation. But as it happens, marketing is the department stepping up to leverage these advancements and innovations, and the CMO is therefore, leading the organization's charge into the age of Digital Transformation more so than IT leaders. What does the network administrator need to understand?
Why Marketing is All Over DX (and You Aren't)
The digital age has turned many marketing pros into dual specialists. They can now leverage technologies as well as the network administrator or almost any other IT pro.
CMOs embracing DX at a faster pace means that external, not internal, forces are driving DX, particularly the customer. According to a recent study, the Chief Marketing Officer is almost two times as likely as the Chief Information Officer to lead DX initiatives. The most prominent DX initiatives undertaken by these CMOs are:
- Driving the business' innovation
- Bringing the organization's IT infrastructure up to modern standards (the network administrator is likely involved in this, too, but not necessarily the CIO or CTO
- Improving the operational agility of the company
Customers Drive Marketing and Marketing Drives Technology
These endeavors usually fall under the umbrella of the IT managers, or perhaps the network administrators, but there seems to be something of a disconnect between the trends responsible for the changes and the people who are actually leading DX efforts.
CIOs are more likely to be uninvolved with DX initiatives, usually because their itineraries are already jam packed. Most CIOs have a backlog of projects that are already started and invested in when they accept the position, meaning they may not be able to take on the time and resource-intensive challenges associated with managing DX.
CMOs, on the other hand, are singularly focused on the customer experience. Any and every technology that can assist on that front is quickly and wholly adopted and leveraged to its fullest capabilities. That's why the CMO tackles and conquers DX more so than the CIO or other execs. Digital technologies are essential for reaching and converting today's online audiences. Many CMOs need to call on the network administrator for network optimization to support their DX efforts, but these commands are not always coming through the expected route via the CIO or CTO.
According to the recent research, CMOs are the headliners for DX at about 34 percent of businesses, compared to just 27 percent of the companies in which CEOs drive DX, and 19 percent in which the CIO or CTO is the driving force. Chief Digital Officers are the force behind some 15 percent of DX initiatives, though this is a less common position than most other C-level titles.
DX, DX Everywhere But Not a Drop to Drink
There is also a significant disconnect between how executives view the future. IT managers are challenged to keep their employees productive and maintain smooth-running operations, compared to the marketing managers who are continually just trying to keep up. This is driven largely by customer trends, which are constantly in flux. Marketing can't keep up with the ongoing changes in the customer, and therefore, marketing readily embraces technologies that help in this regard
Another factor holding the CIO back is their singular focus on the technology, rather than the people the technologies exist to serve. Like the network administrator's job, the outcome is based on the improvements from the customers, not the improvements based on how the technologies themselves are performing. Inevitably, DX is much more about helping people with technology than it is about taking on new technologies successfully. If you manage to help the people, technology adoption becomes a secondary issue. In other words, instead of learning to "think outside the box," executives need to realize that there doesn't have to be a box at all
How the Network Administrator Can Use This Information
So, what can the IT manager and network administrator take from this phenomenon?
- The CIO should take their cues from marketing. Find out what they're doing, how it's making the technology tick, and how that successful DX can be applied across the organization.
- Innovation is the primary driver for successful DX. Stop focusing on 'embracing DX' and start thinking about how those technologies can drive innovation, and more specifically, how they can help people do better jobs.
- What CMOs are learning is that DX has some side benefits: the organization becomes more profitable and employee morale goes up. Due to increases in morale and productivity, DX can significantly improve the organization's market shares and revenue.
The Rabbit Doesn't Always Win the Race So It's Okay to Be a Turtle (as Long as You Keep Moving)
Don't despair if your company isn't the hare of DX. The turtles who keep on keeping on often take the prize.
Something else to take from these findings is that if your organization is slow or struggling when it comes to Digital Transformation, you are not alone, and probably aren't even behind. Companies have been (and will likely continue to be) somewhat slow at adopting and successfully leveraging the digital technologies behind DX.
If your marketing team or another department is seeing more success with DX than your organization as a whole, take a closer look. See what's making their initiatives work where others fail. In the end, it may not be a matter of having the right technologies, but instead, a matter of figuring out how those technologies benefit the people that makes a difference.
What does the network administrator need to do to assure that DX is successful in your organization? Download The Criticality of a Business Assurance Platform for Digital Transformation to learn now.