Article

Chris Underwood
Chris Underwood 27 November 2017

The new chiefs on the block: how data and digital are shaping leadership teams

The prolific rise of digital technology and data science has reshaped every facet of society – how we shop, communicate and play. It has also had a profound impact on how we work and how organisations operate.

No business can – nor indeed should – avoid the implications, challenges and opportunities that come with embracing digital transformation.

Customers and employees alike have the web at their fingertips 24/7. Mobile technology means that people can make purchasing decisions anytime, anywhere. In addition, people are telling businesses what they want, like and don’t like, constantly. This not only offers organisations the potential to enhance interactions with key stakeholders, transform customer experience and engender customer loyalty but it also gives them access to an enormous amount of data, which in turn holds vital business intelligence.

Data science in particular is driving the evolution of business and the workspace and this is only set to grow, considering we have barely scratched the surface of the A.I, Machine Learning (ML) and the cognitive computing revolution.

Leadership roles therefore reflect this significant shift. Chief Data Scientist, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Data Officer – these are not roles that existed as recently as even eight years ago, but are now joining the C-Suite and are certainly influencing the executive.

The traditional leadership team is rapidly evolving. The trinity of the CEO, CFO and COO still stands firm, however new ‘Chiefs’ and triumvirates of CIO, CDO and CMO or CPO are forming and joining the table reflecting the hugely transformative role that both digital and data are playing across every industry and function of an organisation.

Gartner predicts that by 2019, 90% of large organisations will have a Chief Data Officer while research from PWC’s Strategy& shows that 19% of top global companies now have a Chief Digital Officer, 60% of whom have been hired since 2015 and 40% of whom are also C-level members.

While such change brings huge opportunities for growth, it also raises challenges. For example, for a recent Executive Search mandate, 78% of the CDOs we engaged with were in their first senior leadership role. As such, they will have limited experience of how to operate at executive level and speak ‘executive’ language or use it to obtain stakeholder buy-in.

However, there is much that both the ‘old’ and ‘new’ Chiefs can learn from each other. Dynamic, forward thinking businesses appreciate that Data and Digital now affect nearly every aspect of an organisation, at all levels, and can’t be viewed solely as a technology issue – they offer a way to transform business operations for the better. With this come different approaches and new, agile ways of working. Chief Data and Digital Officers can help to introduce these working methodologies and further educate their peers about the power of Digital and Data, helping shape business strategies in order to deliver exceptional and innovative customer centric experiences.

In turn, more established board members can help those in their first leadership roles to develop the unique skill set needed at such a senior level. This includes not just excellent business acumen and a focus on solving business problems but also softer skills such as Emotional Intelligence (EQ), speaking the ‘right’ executive language and building collaborative networks.

The opportunities presented by digital technology and the data it enables are endless. With the right mix, balance and approach, evolving leadership teams can work together to successfully harness these opportunities, drive growth and realise the art of the possible!

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Infographic: 5 Key Findings from the Content Marketing Maturity Report

Infographic: 5 Key Findings from the Content Marketing Maturity Report

A new report from London Research and ContentCal explores how content marketing leaders are able to excel at this discipline, and reap the rewards. The infographic below summarises five of the key findings.

Linus Gregoriadis
Linus Gregoriadis 18 October 2021
Read more
New Research Reveals Content Marketers’ Biggest Battle

New Research Reveals Content Marketers’ Biggest Battle

A crucial step in the journey to content marketing maturity involves converting senior management enthusiasm into an in-depth understanding of the benefits of a strategic approach, and what is required to establish one.

Michael Nutley
Michael Nutley 27 September 2021
Read more
7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business

7 reasons why social media marketing is important for your business

Social media is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of digital marketing, which provides incredible benefits that help reach millions of customers worldwide. And if you are not applying this profitable...

Sharron Nelson
Sharron Nelson 6 February 2018
Read more
Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Top 10 B2B Platforms to Help your Business Grow Worldwide

Although the trend of a Business to Business portal is not new but the evolution of technology has indeed changed the way they function. Additional digital trading features and branding has taken the place of...

Salman Sharif
Salman Sharif 7 July 2017
Read more
Top 10 Skills to Become a Rockstar in Digital Marketing

Top 10 Skills to Become a Rockstar in Digital Marketing

Technology is continuously evolving, prompting marketers and entrepreneurs to dive into digital marketing to increase brand awareness, reach their target market, and ultimately drive sales and profit. 

Jessica Andriani
Jessica Andriani 7 September 2018
Read more