Monday, August 4, 2014

Social media is over. It's just a part of the broader digital transformation.

By Mark Helfen

Social media is over.

That doesn’t mean it’s unimportant, or not useful. But the digital transformation of businesses is happening so quickly that individual technologies like social media platforms are “embedded” in broader changes. Social media is but one piece of a larger digital revolution. It combines with technologies like mobile, big data analysis, geolocation, and an ever growing list of new ideas that together upend old business models.

How can companies respond to such radical change? One way is to create a single point that will focus strategic thinking on an effective evolution. Assigning a person the role of Chief Digital Officer, or CDO is a start.

At our August 11 SVForum Marketing and Social Media SIG meeting R “Ray” Wang will speak on the topic Demystifying Digital Transformation: Do we All Need a CDO. The meeting will be at our usual very nice location, Detati Communications, starting at 6:30.

Wang is Founder and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research. Founded in 2010, Constellation has 20 analysts serving 300 clients. They describe themselves as providing “disruptive technology research for market leaders,” helping their clients transform their business model in response to the avalanche of change. Wang promises to think “beyond the orthogonal” and to be intentionally provocative.

“The business model is changing so fast that a better product or better service is no longer enough,” said Wang. They may not even be required. The “sales funnel” is broken, the “customer journey” model is broken. Customers now hold all of the power.

Into the maelstrom of change, the CDO needs to light the way. It’s too big of a job for one person. Rather, the CDO needs to enable the rest of the organization to be digitally savvy.  He or she needs to be an evangelist, calling to action the range of CXOs, where X could be CEO, CIO, COO, CMO, etc…

There is no single background for the job. Wang’s view is that the person needs to combine quantitative skills with poetry - a balance of left and right brain. If the CDO succeeds, they could very well work them self out of a job in a few years as digital thinking becomes diffused throughout the business.

This number of C-level executives might seem far away from a small entrepreneurial startup. But Wang believes there will be opportunities for small companies to support the digital business model.

So come by next Monday, and get a view of the future of the digital business.

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Mark Helfen is a freelance writer, journalist, and marketing consultant.

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