Points of View

The Rise of the Digital Transformers?

Sep 22, 2015

The new digital market is driving fundamental change in how enterprise brands view internal roles and functions, giving way to the rise of a new breed of “transformational architects” driving enterprise-wide risk management, digital strategy, and customer experience—all key elements in enabling digital trust within an enterprise and its consumers.


Enterprise brands face a number of challenges as they work to adapt to an increasingly digital marketplace and transform their business processes around a digital-first model (see How HfS Defines Digital) and enable a secure, and trusted, digital presence for their partners and consumers.


In response to these challenges, we’re seeing a refocusing and expansion of traditional business roles, one which blends vertical (customer facing) and horizontal (enterprise focused) roles and places increased value on “operational strategists” who operate as transformational architects in this brave new digital world.


This emerging enterprise management structure is consolidated around two roles: Consumer Engagers and Enterprise Enablers.


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Consumer Engagers are responsible for all consumer touch-points, operating in vertical segments, each representing a potential step within the customer journey. These vertical functions include products and services, marketing and brand promotion, sales and revenue, and client services and support—everything needed to carry a consumer through the life-cycle journey (and back again).


What’s new?


Traditionally standalone (i.e., siloed) with clear demarcations, these functions are increasingly collaborative (as they engage with the consumer through the same digital channels and strive to provide a more personalized, and consistent, experience). Collectively, they work to deliver a more digital, and personal, experience to the consumer. They now require (not just desire) the sharing of common infrastructure, technology, and partners/providers. That’s where the Enterprise Enablers come in.


Enterprise Enablers provide corporate-wide (horizontal) direction, strategy, and resources “cross-silo” to both support the individual vertical functions as well as ensure a collaborative, enterprise outcome focus that is able to deliver an increasingly digital brand-consistent engagement with their specific consumer/user base.


What’s new?


We’re seeing a new set of roles solidify—the Operational Strategists, who function between the traditional technologists (IT, cloud, security, infrastructure, etc.) and the executive leaders (chief executive, financial, operations, HR, etc.).


Operational Strategists are key in driving both technology and process transformation throughout an enterprise with a skill set that increasingly includes the ability to not just create or manage change, but to engage at both the enterprise and corporate board or investor level (bypassing the CEO to provide that “unfiltered view”).


Who are the Operational Strategists? Example roles include:


  • Chief Digital Officer: Drives digital transformation in all aspects of the enterprise (a role that surpasses most CIOs today).
  • Chief Experience Officer: Injects the right tools, training, and collaborative system to create and measure overall customer experience, from both a consumer and an enterprise employee/provider perspective.
  • Chief Trust/Risk Officer: Encompasses the traditional role of compliance risk management with a broader emphasis on both digital security and business practices (including partnerships, providers, products, policies, etc.) that may place either increase or decrease enterprise risk or consumer brand trust.


Enterprises need to recognize that these roles do not need to equate to titles, and can often be found in responsibilities shared by a number of different individuals. What is crucial is that these roles exist, with the clear authority to operate (at the enterprise and board level) without regard to legacy status quo.


We further suggest that enterprise management place an increased emphasis on identifying and enabling transformational roles, as organizations that survive the transition from legacy to As-a-Service will be those that embrace this wave of digitization and aggressively shift their focus to increase the speed of transformational value within their organization.