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
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
‘Complainer marketing’ – should we harness rage to promote brands?

‘Complainer marketing’ – should we harness rage to promote brands?

As marketers, we're always looking to get the best results for our clients. But should we highjack the emotions of their customers to do so? No, as I explain in this post, you're better than that.

Tom Chapman
Tom Chapman 18 July 2018
Read more
8 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2023

8 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2023

The internet has conditioned customers to demand instant gratification, and that’s only set to continue. In 2023, customers will expect a response time of just hours. No more sending an email and waiting days for a...

Azeem Adam
Azeem Adam 3 May 2022
Read more
The Impact of New Technology on Marketing

The Impact of New Technology on Marketing

Technology has impacted every part of our lives. From household chores to business disciplines and etiquette, there's a gadget or app for it. Marketing has changed dramatically over the years, but what is the...

Alex Lysak
Alex Lysak 22 September 2020
Read more
Deep Link vs. Universal Link: Which One is Better?

Deep Link vs. Universal Link: Which One is Better?

Are universal link and deep link the same thing? There are some big differences, let's understand them.

Stefano Pisoni
Stefano Pisoni 17 March 2020
Read more