We asked a number of online managers from different companies what they thought their biggest barriers were to creating progress and results in the online channel. Here is their response:
The channel is forgotten or not sufficiently prioritised in different projects and processes in other parts of the organisation.
Unclear authority and multiple interfaces with greater influence on decisions than the channel managers.
Online channel initiatives don't always support the business strategy.
If an organisation believes that Marketing exists to help other areas succeed in their jobs and targets, and the digital channel is part of Marketing's toolbox, then it's no wonder that the channel doesn't have any specific target or direction. Marketing is only expected to join in when internal 'customers' need help.
Then there's the challenge of unclear authority and too many opinions about which jobs are priorities
There tend to be just as many opinions on which initiatives should be prioritised as there are functional areas with their own goals. This creates another challenge: too many jobs, too few resources.
The classic belief about Marketing is that it's a cost centre. Sales is considered a profit centre, customer services is seen as the contact point with customers, and Marketing is seen as a cost with only indirect influence on the company's revenue.
This is a belief that has a critical effect on both resource and budget allocation, and on the challenge of lack of time versus the number of jobs.
We see an increasing number of companies employing a chief digital officer or chief transformation officer (CDO/CTO) alongside other functions that report to the CEO and whose job it is to manage the company's digitalisation. The benefits of this solution are:
But, a frequent challenge for this solution is:
Danske Bank is an example of managing digitalisation and innovation "from the sidelines of the organisation". Companies that use this model set up a special task force whose job is to innovate by using digital opportunities. The task force works alongside the original organisation, structure, goals and processes.
The benefits of this model are:
However, the challenge is:
IBM has chosen a third model that tries to integrate digital skills and digital focus in all departments of the existing organisation.
The benefits here are:
The challenge can be:
So if you want to succeed with your digital transformation, my advice would be to begin by looking at the digital placement in the company:
There are undoubtedly more models for placing the digital responsibility than the ones I have listed here.
Regardless of which model you try, it's essential that you learn about the pros and cons of each. Equally, when placing digital responsibility in the organisation, you define the scope the digital transformation should have in your company.
Lack of time or resources for the amount of jobs expected to be completed.
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