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5 Ways CIOs Can Drive Digital Business Transformation

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I recently had the wonderful opportunity to conduct a special edition of CxOTalk live in New York City at the CIO Perspectives conference presented by CIO Magazine. Our special guest, Brandon Berger is the Chief Digital Officer at Ogilvy & Mather, the largest Marketing Communications firm with 22,000 employees in over 500 offices in 126 countries.

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Brandon Berger, CDO Ogilvy & Mather

Under Berger's leadership, Ogilvy has built the largest global digital network. A global platform, that is capable of mobilizing worldwide resources for any client regardless of location. Ogilvy has also made digital capabilities core to the entire business. This includes establishing key global practices and M&A around mobile, ecommerce, data, user experience, technology and delivery, and launching Social@Ogilvy, the largest social agency network in the world.

Berger defines his position of CDO as being a business role that is focused on the customer and the understanding that the relationship between the business and the customer is inherently technology enabled and digitally driven. Berger gives some insight into the role of the CDO and offers valuable advice to CIOs for driving the digital transformation of their business.

5 Ways for CIOs to Help Enable Digital Transformation:

1. Place digital and technology at the core of the business: The 2014 State of the CIO survey conducted by CIO magazine found that CIOs that deal with digital strategy verses those that deal with more traditional functions, such as help desk and infrastructure, earn significantly higher salaries and are higher up on the organizational chart. Perhaps this is because there is such a demand for technology, as shown in the results of a recent IDC marketing study, predicting that in two years technology will account for 50% of the total marketing budget. The demand to build the tools and the technology to enable the relationship between the business and the customer is moving the CIO to more of a front office role. The closer a CIO is to the technology side of the business, versus the operational side, the more their compensation will be driven by business growth and transformation and the more effective the business will be.

While the role of the CDO varies by industry, Berger sees it as a business role that is responsible for driving and ensuring that digital and technology are at the core of the business. The CTO is looking at technical platforms, while Berger is looking at customer needs and building out the technology to fulfill them. In this sense it is a strategic, customer-focused role with deep technical knowledge. "You need to tie the role to the vision, mission and goal of the business, otherwise it gets hairy," says Berger.

2. Drive digital transformation from the top - According to a Gartner survey, by 2015 25% of all global organizations (1 in 4) will have a CDO. Additionally, there has been tremendous year-over-year growth in the CDO Club founded by David Mathison. While the role of the CDO is critical for ensuring that all facets of the organization remain focused on digital technology to deliver business goals, Berger says that the only way that organizations will be able to change is from a top-down commitment to digital transformation.

"It's all about creating a shift in the culture of an organization where delivering digital transformation is seen as everyone's job and something that we are all accountable for. A visionary leader that is committed is necessary to drive this shift," says Berger. A critical driver to Ogilvy's success in transforming their organization with digital has been the fact that they have a CEO who is committed to the digital transformation of the company.

3. Form partnerships with other technology and business counterparts - According to Berger, the hierarchy of CTO, CIO, CMO needs to change. These roles need to be partners and they need to be on the same page. "We need to figure out a way to be closer and there is a need for someone to help bring them together," he says.

As CDO, Berger works most closely with the CMO, is best friends with the CTO (so he knows which technology to use to handle the data) and is enabled by the technology that the CIO gives him access to. He says that today's CMOs are technology-savvy and CIOs are digitally-savvy, so having close partnerships allows him to get better technology insights to figure out the best way to accomplish his goals of serving the customer's needs.

At Ogilvy, Berger is partnering with his technology counterparts and collaborating all the time. He says for digital transformation to be a core business objective, the technology needs to be the core to everything they are going to be doing now and in the future. There is participation and collaboration across the range of different groups - it is not just a technical conversation, it is an organizational conversation. It is critical for technology partners to be in the room when it comes to brainstorming ideas. He says that the technology people that have a seat at the table are not the ones that are focused on cutting cost and managing the infrastructure, but are the ones figuring out how to make imaginations come to life.

4. Ask, "How can I help?" - For most organizations, the CIO is viewed around building the infrastructure, where the CDO is about customer service and the broader strategy of the business. His advice to CIOs who want to extend their role beyond keeping on the lights, is to be a partner. Be proactive and be a part of the discussion. Think in terms of the relationship between the business and the customer and work to help the rest of the organization enable it.

Berger says that the top 3 characteristics of the ideal IT partner would be, having a willingness to help, being innovative and entrepreneurial and a problem solver. He stresses the importance of asking the question, "How can I help?" He says that this simple question opens you up to all the ideas and gives people access to help solve mission-critical business challenges. "Ideally the perfect IT partner would be able to sit in the room with the creative team and imagine a better world for our customers and help us to get there," says Berger.

5. Put digital strategy into pace with ambition - When it comes to gaining the momentum to take strategy from paper to practice, Berger says that ambition is one of the most important things to strategy. Ambition is walking into a meeting and saying, "Here is what we are going to do." How we will get there, is the plan or strategy. He advises executives to first get the commitment and then recognize that the strategy will change and evolve. He says to be sure to know what things you will measure against so you can say that you got there. "Unless everyone is committed to that ambition and direction, the strategy is just a piece of paper," says Berger.

We polled our live audience of CIOs to find out what KPIs they measure against and they said ROI, uptime, budget, savings, customer satisfaction, average cost per user and SLAs. We were curious how these things compared against the metrics that a CDO looks at. The difference between the KPIs of a CIO and a CDO is infrastructure verses growth. Berger said his KPIs are driven around revenue growth, new customer segments and offering new services to customers - all things that lead to more growth.

From the perspective of a CMO, I can tell you that technology is core to marketing. For 2014, IDC identified 78 technical categories just for digital marketing and Scott Brinker developed a map of 1,000 companies delivering technical solutions to marketing alone. Today marketing is more of a science than an art and it requires partnership with technology.

You can watch the full interview with Brandon Berger here. Please join me and Michael Krigsman every Friday at 3pm as we host CXOTalk - connecting with thought leaders and innovative executives who are pushing the boundaries within their companies and their fields.

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