CXO

CMO, not CIO, leads digital transformation, says new report

A new report from Altimeter explains the biggest initiatives for digital transformation in the enterprise, and shows that customer experience is its biggest driver.

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Image: iStockphoto/maxsattana

On Tuesday, Altimeter analyst Brian Solis released his 2016 State of Digital Transformation report, which outlined why companies are pursuing digital transformation, how they're doing it, and who is leading the charge.

On the business side of the equation, one of the more interesting points of the report is who exactly is spearheading digital transformation. According to the report, digital transformation is led primarily by the CMO, who is leading in 34% of organizations.

On the contrary, the CIO and CTO, who are the expected leaders, only led the effort in 19% of companies, while the CEO led in 27%. According to the report, this is to be expected, as researchers found "that digital transformation is now about people first and technology second."

SEE: Does anyone still want to be a CIO?

So, we know who is championing digital transformation form the organization, but what is driving the shift? The answer, in short, is customers.

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Of those who are the leaders of digital transformation in their organization, 55% said that "evolving customer behaviors and preferences" were the core reason they were pursuing such a change. Despite this statistic, 71% of executives said their no. 1 challenge was understanding the behavior or impact of new customers.

Even though strong importance was placed on the customer by those who participated in this report, a mere 54% claimed to have fully mapped out their customer journey. In the report, this is referred to as a lack of "true customer-centricity."

Digital transformation is rarely a singular project, and often involves many separate goals and processes. For the participants in this report, the top three goals were innovation (81%), modernized IT infrastructure (80%), and improving operational agility (79%).

In terms of how they are measuring the success of these digital transformation initiatives, respondents listed the following six metrics:

  • Customer satisfaction (NPS, CSAT) - 28%
  • Web traffic - 27%
  • Productivity - 27%
  • Revenue - 26%
  • Customer experience - 25%
  • Content analytics - 25%

The big question then becomes whether or not digital transformation leads to any improvements for the business. For starters, 41% of surveyed business leaders said they saw increased market share because of digital transformation, and 37% said it was making employees happier. Additionally, 30% saw increased customer revenue because of their initiatives.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. A new Altimeter report said that the CMO most often leads digital transformation, while the CIO and CTO only account for 19% of these initiatives.
  2. The top goal for digital transformation among leaders was to improve innovation, with 81% saying so.
  3. Businesses saw increased market share, employee morale, and revenue as a result of their digital transformation.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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