Posted on by Chandreyi Saha

Do a Google search on the above question and you’ll likely be bombarded by huge amounts of opinion pieces and research papers that extol the rise of the digital age as the age of IOT and digital disruption.  The one who understands the customer best because they know how to really listen.  But then again, as surely digital and technology are synonymous with each other and therefore this is the most obvious answer – Digital is all about tech!

Further, Digital Transformation as a concept is identified as an urgent seismic (usually technology) shift – from legacy to cloud, from silo to integration, or from static to responsive.  Digital Transformation has been around now formally for about 5 years and has matured to mean something that touches every single aspect of your business and your people.  It’s about culture as much as technology, it’s about constant change, which means becoming adaptive in every way, shape and form, in the way you do business today.

So, who should control digital?  If everyone is in control of it, how do you ensure ‘it’ happens and who leads? But seriously, we do need to realise as businesses, business leaders, business owners that digital is a catalyst for a more democratic business model – so this answer isn’t that same in the reality. Digital requires management and control, monitoring and measurement like all things – it’s no different.  And, as with any business is also requires leadership, supported by processes, policies and governance, not inhibited by them.

Further, the leadership of Digital can be boxed into the role of a Digital Leader; as at the end of the day, digital stands for openness, transparency, immediacy and knowledge.  Digital Leaders will be an invaluable component that should drive the engine of digital but there is much collective leadership and advocacy required to drive the change.

No one should think they own digital, that’s an idea of disaster. That’s why a new mindset and new approaches to governance are required.  If you really look at the leadership roles of a business, control and ownership is naturally eroding due to digital too – but not in a negative way, in a way that heralds openness, transparency, immediacy and knowledge, the director no longer controls brand, or owns content – the audience does, the head of technology no longer owns or controls technology – the business does.

So all leadership needs to adapt to the digital world we live in.  Before you go down the route of ownership and control, assigning digital as a special project imposes some ideas we might think of:

1) Create a sense of urgency – 2015 is apparently the year of personalisation and relevancy when it comes to marketing and communications.  2015 is also the year of Wearable and the Internet of Things if you think pure Tech. For Personalisation you need data and for greater visibility, cloud integration; for exploitation of Wearable and the Internet of Things you need the required skills to create, develop, deliver, test and improve these digital shift.

2) Support the hierarchy in digital – Find subtle ways to support the learning and increased understanding of the positive aspects of digital amongst the general leadership.  Today’s digital is all about the Omni-channel movement across all digital channels available including web, email, social, mobile and we must have a focus on sharing and showing what’s available and what’s happening beyond the obvious line of vision to help bringing leaders forward along the journey.

3) The three C’s of Communication – Whether you are a CEO or CMO, you must now understand the business value and true importance of communication.  There are three C’s in communication:  Communication, Communication, and Communication and sharing the idea across digital.  More people you encourage to respond, engage, repeat and convert more success you get out of the process. Lack of communication is often a significant contributor to failed projects.

Finally, we can no longer try and solve a 21st century business problem using 20th century processes, methods, ideas or structures.  We must resist the temptation to think of Digital Leadership and Branding as a role of control or ownership and think of it more as a facilitator, a custodian, a problem solver, an advisor and most importantly a human being able to show you the art of the possibilities.  We really need to impose where control is really needed in this new and exciting digital world. As Joyce Meyer, the author of ‘The Love Revolution’ rightly said “Don’t be the afraid of change, because it’s leading you to a new beginning.”



Chandreyi is a Content Marketing Specialist and Social Media Manager at Skyline. She specializes in building engaged online communities and sparking conversations about business-to-business marketing trends, Follow her at Google+ or tweet her at @chandreyisaha.


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