Foreword: Getting digital right

Digital continues to transform the world and according to the Accenture Interactive 2014 CMO Insights Research, chief marketing officers know this*, with 78 per cent of those surveyed believing that marketing will undergo a fundamental change in the next five years.

Joydeep Bhattacharya

They are embracing digital channels but know that it is time to do more. As a result, I predict that digital transformation is going to be one of the most widely used terms by CMOs in the strategic planning process, starting in most organisations post-summer. Right now every organisation has either started the transformation journey, is thinking of taking it to the next level or is about to embark on the journey.

One of the obvious questions that comes up time and again is how do we make sure we get digital right? For me, it starts with understanding what people mean by ‘digital’. There are many definitions but digital is fundamentally about simplifying and driving agility.

It is then about how you organise to make digital happen. Based on my experiences and close in-depth study of start-up and digital exemplars, organisations that have executed digital successfully usually have one common ingredient – a digital unit. Not a team that sits below some channel or function, not some sort of matrix structure, but an integrated unit focused on, and accountable for, achieving business outcomes.

Successful digital units usually have certain characteristics. They are a highly specialised, multi-disciplined and naturally inquisitive talent group, ring-fenced with clear accountability and sponsorship from executive board level. They live and breathe customer outcomes; find creative solutions to overcome ‘legacy’ challenges; are not afraid, but instead are encouraged to do beta testing; challenge the norms; and are focused on delivering value quickly to build confidence and momentum. 

I strongly believe that these digital units are, and should be, temporary. They are catalysts in making change happen. If executed well, they just diffuse across the organisation and become the new norm.

You can read our digital transformation thought leadership at accenture.com/interactive. Join the conversation @AccentureSocial. 

Joy Bhattacharya, Managing director and financial services EMEA lead, Accenture Interactive

Reference:

* Accenture Interactive Thought Leadership Paper “CMOs: Time for digital transformation or risk being left on the sidelines”, June 2014, accenture.com/CMOinsights

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