Do you recognize your organization’s digital presence as a valuable asset? You probably are familiar with some aspects of it, less familiar with others. The organization’s website forms a core component of your digital presence. So do any information or blog portals your organization deploys. Do you conduct webcasts to educate customers or prospects? Webcasts are part of your digital presence too. Your digital presence, in short, is all you do in the digital sphere.
IT probably didn’t initiate the organization’s digital presence way back when the scramble was on to stake out a web presence. Probably marketing agitated for it and IT assigned someone as webmaster. Things have changed dramatically in the decade or two since.
“Digital is the future and a critical component of business strategy in many industries,” notes Howard Tiersky, CEO of Moving Interactive, which specializes in digital innovation consulting. In other words, Tiersky tries to increase the value of companies’ digital presence, whatever pieces it may include.
To Tiersky, digital represents the largest transformation the media world has seen in decades—the old rules and ways of launching new products no longer apply. But your digital presence probably extends far beyond the digital media world.
According to Kennedy Consulting, “digital strategy, the integration of digital technologies into companies’ strategies and operations in ways that fundamentally alter the value chain, is emerging as a significant source of competitive advantage.” It is driving dramatic changes in the products and services companies bring to market, as well as how they do business. What we really mean when talking about digital is the entire digital landscape: the Internet, Web (World Wide Web), the Cloud, and all they contain; mobile even plays a key part of it.
Every organization today operates in this rapidly expanding digital landscape. Some have a small digital presence there, maybe just a website that is little more than a static information portal or electronic brochure. Others digitally engage their customers, partners, and other stakeholders much more extensively through social business, online collaboration, webcasts, video, and more.
At this point, the extent of an organization’s involvement in the digital landscape generally mirrors its industry. “In some industries, digital has become the primary way to interact with customers,” says Tiersky. For customers in media, entertainment, travel, and financial services an effective digital strategy is a critical requirement. In other industries the need is less urgent right now, but before not too long every company in every industry will need a digital strategy that shapes its digital presence.
Most companies began a decade or two ago with a simple static website. Marketing usually was driving the bus with IT lending technical support as needed. Over the years it grew and expanded; IT increasingly became involved, often reluctantly.
The budget for these kinds of digital initiatives also grew, and the recipient of the budget began to shift. According to Gartner, marketing is purchasing significant marketing-related technology and services from their own capital and expense budgets – both outside the control of the internal IT organization and in conjunction with them. The upshot, Gartner predicts that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. And the volume and value of transactions being generated through the organization’s digital presence has likely become substantial.
The digital landscape and the performance of the organization’s digital presence within that landscape has grown in size to such an extent, as reflected by the increasing amounts of budget allocated to it, that neither IT nor marketing can handle it alone. The scope and complexity of the digital landscape and its many disparate elements has evolved and expanded fast. In addition, the importance of the organization’s digital presence grown even faster; that’s why every organization needs outside help.
And this is why digital consultants, content delivery networks, and cloud-based services providers of all sorts are in demand. It is time for you as CIO to sit down with the CMO and put together a team that can efficiently optimize your digital presence as a valuable asset going forward.
The digital landscape is not going away. “We are going through a multi-decade transformation process; every business will shift significantly into digital world,” says Tiersky. As that happens you want to make sure IT is playing a key role.