Tag Archives: Chief Digital Officer

Why You Need a Digital Leader

Nineteen percent of the world’s top 2,500 companies have appointed an executive, commonly known as a chief digital officer (CDO), to oversee the digital transformation of their business, according to the results of a new study about the role from Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business.

Though this number might seem modest, it more than tripled last year’s figure, of only 6%. Sixty percent of the digital leaders identified in our most recent study have been hired within the past two years.

Strategy&’s 2016 Chief Digital Officer Study looks at the top 2,500 public companies around the world by market capitalization to better understand how many companies have appointed a digital leader, who they are and where the position fits into companies’ hierarchies. For the purposes of this study, the CDO is defined as that executive, no matter the title, who has been given the task of putting into practice the digital mission of his or her company or business unit.

See also: The Dawn of Digital Reinsurance  

In light of the significant increase in digital leaders across industry, company size and region, companies would do well to start believing the hype around the new position.

  • Companies in the financial services and consumer-focused industries have the highest digital leader ratio. According to our study, 35% of insurance companies have digital leaders, and 27% of both banking and consumer products companies do, as well.
  • European companies are hiring CDOs at faster rates than companies elsewhere (38% in Europe vs. 23% in North America, 13% in South and Latin America and 7% in Asia-Pacific).
  • Larger companies continue to remain ahead of the curve in appointing digital leaders. The percentage of companies with CDOs by market cap peaks at 33% for Quartile 4, then decreases to 18% for Quartile 3, 15% for Quartile 2 and 10% for Quartile 1.

Creating a unified vision for digital

“For a growing number of companies, it’s just not feasible any longer to spread out various digital efforts among separate business units,” says Pierre Peladeau, a leading digital practitioner and study co-author with Strategy&, partner with PwC France. “It may work during early stages of digitalization, but as a company moves toward a more advanced stage of digital maturity, a unified approach is needed to execute a more comprehensive digital strategy.”

Taking the helm of a holistic digital strategy means different things for different companies. While some look externally for digital leaders, others engage existing leadership and a diverse group of stakeholders to help manage the transition. For these reasons, digital executives come in various forms, with a variety of different skills in tow. While marketing and sales-backed leaders dominated last year (34% and 17%, respectively), this year 32% of digital leaders bring technology backgrounds to the job, up from 14%.

“One of the most daunting challenges for any digital leader is how to develop new digital applications at the same time as they’re dealing with legacy IT systems that have been vital to a company’s operation for years,” says Mathias Herzog, Strategy& co-author and partner with PwC US. “As this becomes more and more apparent, we should continue to see a growing number of executives with the technical expertise necessary to navigate a company’s multi-faceted digital assets.”

Knowing how to work within these constraints while simultaneously maintaining the operational agility needed to move digitalization efforts forward will be key for any incumbent digital leader.

See also: It’s Time to Accelerate Digital Change  

“The CDO’s role, by definition, is transformational,” says Olaf Acker, co-author and Digital Services leader with PwC Strategy& Germany. “Which means anyone assuming the role has to balance the old technologies with the new, technical expertise with an understanding of internal organizational mechanisms and a vision for a company’s future that also aligns with its longstanding mission.”

Methodology

Strategy& examined the global top 2,500 listed companies by market capitalization as of July 1, 2016, as defined by Bloomberg.

For more information, please visit www.strategyand.pwc.com/cdostudy. A copy of the study and breakdowns by industry, company size and geography are also available from the media contact.

How to Avoid Being Bit by GDPR (Part 2)

This is Part Two of a two-part series focused on helping data insight leaders plan for GDPR. Find the first part here

With the EU-approved General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to be implemented in the U.K. on May 25, 2018, GDPR must be a consideration for all insight leaders.

In the first post, we focused on needing to check your potential exposure with regard to these topics:

  • Higher standard of what constitutes consent;
  • Challenges if using “legitimate interest” basis;
  • Permission needed for profiling and implications; and
  • Data impact of people’s right to be forgotten.

Is there more to GDPR than that?

I mentioned in my first post that I was concerned about an apparent complacency regarding GDPR readiness. After talking further about this with some leaders, I believe that one cause is risk and compliance teams advising that GDPR isn’t as bad as feared. This means there’s a danger of potential threats “falling between two stools.”

Let me explain.

From a risk-and-compliance perspective, many of the principles in GDPR aren’t hugely different from the existing U.K. Data Protection Act. Many of the changes come through greater evidence requirements and more specific guidance regarding what is expected in specific situations. For that reason, I can understand compliance experts not seeing the need for vastly different paperwork. However, leaving such an assessment to that team risks missing critical implications.

One of the reasons that insight leaders and data teams should get involved in discussions about GDPR is to spot technical/data/system implications of change. What may seem to be simply a clarification of language to a compliance expert sometimes has far-reaching implications for company data models and how data will be used or stored — for instance, the rights mentioned in Part One with regard to withdrawing permission for profiling (or the “right to be forgotten”). Most businesses’ existing data models will not currently cater to the new fields, and separation of records is required.

So, although wading through EU legal language may not sound like a fun day out, it’s worth data insight leaders and their teams talking through practical implications with their risk and compliance advisers.

Here are some other considerations for you to discuss.

Data model impacts from GDPR

The reason for titling this topic “Data model impacts” rather than “Database impacts” is our advice to maintain up-to-date data models for your business that give you independence from specific IT solutions. Whatever this is called, data insight leaders will want to identify any impacts to their data structures and any changes that may be needed to enable compliance ASAP.

See also: Missed Opportunity for Customer Insight

In our first post, we touched on both the need for consent (to marketing and profiling) as well as the need for evidence of this. There are further considerations.

Applying meaningful data-retention policies that can be justified as reasonable requires knowing the recency of such consent. In addition, data-controller responsibilities require the capturing and storage of consent data within any third-party sources of personal data.

Even the current Information Commissioners Office (ICO) guidance (before it was updated for GDPR) makes clear:

  • “Organizations should therefore make sure they keep clear records of exactly what someone has consented to.”
  • “Organizations may be asked to produce their records…”
  • “Organizations should decide how long is reasonable to continue to use their own data and more importantly a third party list.”
  • “As a general rule… it does not rely on any indirect consent given more than six months ago.”

Do your data models capture that granularity of data permission (what and when) and hold it against both internally captured personal data and any you may have purchased from third parties?

Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs)

Data and analytics leaders within businesses often complain to me about not being consulted by internal project teams. It seems all too often the data implications of projects (especially on downstream systems like data warehouses) aren’t considered or are de-scoped from testing. This can result in considerable rework and in the worst cases to inappropriate marketing or customer contact.

Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) are intended to protect against such unintended data changes. Previously only recommended by the ICO, the GDPR is more explicit in what is expected:

“DPIAs to be carried out if the planned processing is likely to result in a high risk to rights and freedoms of individuals — including where processing involves ’new technologies’ or ‘large-scale processing.’”

So, what do you need to do for a DPIA? Basically, it’s an investigation to identify how such risks will be mitigated. Could the planned systems changes produce effects on either data stored or on use of data that would breach the GDPR? Is monitoring required to avoid this? Given that the ICO is due to publish a list of the kind of processing operations that require DPIAs, it’s worth planning for them.

As a quick checklist, you should seek to answer these questions regarding your DPIA:

  • What is the possible risk to individuals from changes (to systems, processes, etc.)?
  • What is the risk of non-compliance with GDPR? (Consider all the topics in our two posts.)
  • Which principles and regulations might be breached?
  • Is there any associated organizational risk? (E.g. reputations at risk if goes wrong?)
  • Who should be consulted? (This includes third parties and teams using personal data.)

One final point:  Within the GDPR guidance, there’s also an expectation of being “designed for compliance.” There’s far less tolerance for new systems not being designed to store and use data in line with GDPR rules. So, it’s well worth reviewing any current and planned projects to ensure they are allowing for the data fields and checks that will be required. Don’t try to use the opportunity to blame legacy systems.

Record-keeping and contracts (What should these cover?)

Financial services firms will be used to the record-keeping requirements from other regulations (including FCA’s Conduct Risk). Another area where GDPR goes further than previous rules is in the expectation of records being kept. If a data controller or data processor has more than 250 employees, “detailed records of the processing” need to be kept. SMEs (fewer than 250 employees) are generally exempt, unless the processing carries a “high privacy risk” or involves “sensitive data.”

So what records must you keep?

As a rough guide, it’s high-level records on policies and people, including:

  • Name and contact details of data controllers and DPOs (more about them soon);
  • Purpose of processing;
  • Classes of data (e.g. personal, sensitive, product, etc.);
  • Details of recipients of data;
  • Details of any overseas transfers;
  • Data retention periods (replying on date stamps on data items); and
  • Security measures in place (data access, authentication, etc)

As an aside for insight leaders, recognizing the need to keep all these records prompts me to speak up about the need for better knowledge management solutions. Previously, I made a plea for more emphasis on metadata. Given that insight leaders also have a challenge to retain analysts and the insights they have gleaned while working there, an easy way to store insights and data as well as data about data is clear. However, despite years of variants of database, intranet, groupware and other potential solutions, most businesses still lack a routinely used knowledge management solution. I hope the success of products such as Evernote will prompt more complete solutions.

Data Protection Officers (DPOs) (Do you need one, and what should they do?)

Over the course of reading these two posts on GDPR, you may be beginning to wonder who carries the can. In other words, who is liable to go to jail or be prosecuted if this work is not done? The answer, for many firms will be the Data Protection Officer (DPO). Far from being a scapegoat, the DPO is intended to be the internal conscience — akin to an internal audit role in helping prevent breaches.

The ICO was previously silent on any formal need for such a position, despite the growing popularity of appointing Chief Data Officers (CDO). At one stage, it was expected that GDPR would require every organization to have a DPO, but the final wording was more tolerant.

The following have to have DPOs:

  • Organizations where processing is “likely to results in a risk to data subjects”;
  • Organizations involving large-scale monitoring or sensitive data (ICO guidance should clarify); and
  • Public authorities or bodies.

A DPO is required to have the requisite data skills, and their details should be published to encourage contact with data subjects. But there are also protections to ensure the DPO isn’t brought under undue internal pressure. The DPO isn’t to be instructed how to carry out the duties. DPOs may not be dismissed or penalized for performing their tasks, and they have to report directly to the highest level of the organization. Given that freedom and responsibility, it isn’t surprising that a number of businesses will ask their CDO to take on the DPO role, as well.

See also: It’s Time for a New Look at Metadata  

What are DPOs expected to do, then, if they can’t be over-guided internally? Well, this:

  • Inform and advise data controllers to ensure compliance;
  • Monitor compliance with GDPR;
  • Provide advice to others where requested (e.g. DPIAs); and
  • Cooperate with the ICO, including notifying the ICO about any breaches.

Given all the concerns, it’s not surprising to see a growing industry of data breach insurance. However, it’s worth reading about the requirements. Many require very stringent internal controls and may not pay out if any insider collusion is identified.

How are you preparing? Do you have any tips?

Only time will tell how the ICO operates under these regulations and how firms respond. So, it’s the start of a journey — but I encourage all data insight leaders to start that journey ASAP.

Please do also share what has worked for you. What have you found useful in thinking through the implications for your organization? Are there any tools or tips and tricks that you’d recommend?

As ever, we’d like to encourage the Customer Insight Leader community to share best practice and help improve our profession.

For further information — and perhaps a next step — I’d recommend the training and certification provided by the IDM. I’ve completed both and found them very useful.

How Technology Breaks Down Silos

Overview

New digital technologies and the data they are producing have forced collaboration among senior business leaders across all levels of all organizations. To obtain insights from data to drive decision-making and embed a data-driven approach within a company’s culture, it is critical for the C-suite to lead the way.

It’s easy to talk about collaboration, but much harder to act. Analyzing information, deriving insights and responding with effective strategies requires an understanding of the analytical tools themselves, as well as collaboration. As technologies get smarter and various functional groups collaborate, simply moving to single systems can give broader teams greater visibility to inefficiencies and broken processes.

But how does a business get to such a place? What tools and strategies bring about successful coordination of activities in such dynamic situations? And what are the challenges of working together that C-Suite executives should anticipate?

In Depth

Just about every functional group within an organization can now collect, connect and analyze data. But big data – from keyword searches, social sites, wearables, mobile devices, customer feedback and so on – presents challenges as well as opportunities for business leaders. One of the biggest is how to maximize the potential of this data by transcending organizational silos to unlock its true potential.

Technology is also transforming how businesses develop and deliver goods and services and is placing enormous new demands on those responsible for strategies to navigate the challenges. These are the people who need to apply institutional knowledge, implement changes and allocate resources toward new ways of working on a day-to-day basis.

Paul Mang, Global CEO of Analytics and leader of the Aon Center for Innovation and Analytics in Singapore, says there are two types of data analysis that can be leveraged to accomplish this: business analytics and enterprise analytics. Business analytics focus on the use of established tools and capabilities, while enterprise analytics “create new product or value propositions for existing clients or new client segments altogether.”  Short-term, enterprise analytics can lead to disruptive innovation while quickly contributing to improved long-term performance.

“Business and enterprise analytics should work side-by-side and complement each other” to support decision making, Mang says.

The Changing Role of the CIO

The need to become an effective data-driven organization has dramatically increased the importance of the chief information officer (CIO), a role that John Bruno, chief information officer at Aon, says is that of “an integrator – someone who works across the entire organization to embed data within the business.”  He sees the value that information technology (IT) brings, and notes that “IT is less about bits and bytes of data, but more about bringing them together to extract specific insights.”

The need to centralize and mine big data for market opportunities and to parse out weaknesses is also prompting some firms to create a C-suite level position of chief data officer (CDO). This role would be responsible for working with business managers to identify both internal and external data sets that they may not even realize exist, as well as continually looking for new ways to experiment and apply that data.

Equally critical to communicating changes in customer preferences and behaviors, and for their ability to leverage insights from customer purchase patterns into developing new products and services, is the chief marketing officer (CMO). Like the CMO, the effective CIO needs an intimate understanding of how current technology can increase the company’s sales.

However, Bruno says, “in any large organization, there are multiple leaders in different parts of the organization who address different elements of the same challenges. It’s the CEO who can see the whole view and works to have teams bring forward integrated solutions to distributed problems.” He sees the role of the CEO as one who looks beyond short-term disruptions and organizational adjustments to seize opportunities that ensure long-term growth.

This is why, increasingly, the role of the CIO/CDO is about balancing business needs against an incoming stream of opportunities – and risks. This broad cross-business knowledge can only come from constant and deliberate collaboration with the rest of the C-level executive suite. Above all, the CIO has to be able to effectively show how technology and the subsequent data it brings are assets rather than cost centers. For CIOs to really succeed, this means informing C-level colleagues about technology and the opportunities it can create.

Making Collaboration Count: Finance and HR

The role of the CFO is increasingly about analyzing data to give it meaning and partnering across the organization to make the information actionable. One area that is seeing CFOs use data to drive real results is in collaboration with the chief human resources officer (CHRO).

Eddie Short, Aon Hewitt’s managing director, Global Data & Analytics, says that in most organizations the C-Suite has not been getting sufficient insight into people-related business issues, typically owned by human resources (HR) teams. Today, with the CIO’s help, digital tools are increasingly being used by leading organizations to measure employee performance, reduce attrition and cultivate talent through a better understanding of the data about their workforce that they can gather and analyze.

“People analytics,” as this emerging field is known, attempts to bridge the gap between HR and the rest of the organization by providing specific insights into an organization’s talent. “People analytics is all about connecting the value of your people to the strategic goals and objectives of the business,” Short says. “This approach represents a major opportunity for HR and finance leaders to take a road centered on the greatest asset that organizations have – their people – and start to shape the value-add they will create for the business over the next five to 10 years using predictive analytics.”

With skills shortages an increasingly pressing issue for many organizations around the world, gaining this kind of insight can help a business to identify and meet its future talent needs.

Aligning for Agility

As technology continues to disrupt, CEOs and the C-Suite in general must accept that there may not be a set playbook to follow to adapt and evolve. Flexibility is paramount, and often organizations must invent and reinvent as they move forward. Intelligently applying analytics tools to derive value from big data can help them navigate this new terrain.

“Today, CXOs want predictive insights,” Short says. “They want answers to the predictive ‘what could I do?’ questions as well as prescriptive – ‘what should I do?’ — questions.” Yet most tools and programs currently available are merely descriptive – to derive true insight needs additional interpretations from people who really understand the business.

This is where C-Suite collaboration becomes so vital. Organizations thrive when there are diverse and complementary personnel and systems working together. Sharing insights from the analysis of big data across the C-suite and across functions can position businesses to draw valuable insights from this data, harmonize planning around it, align their actions and understand the full value this brings both to their own divisions and the organization as a whole. And the more that data is shared, the more leading businesses discover that they can find answers to today’s – and tomorrow’s – questions.

With the measurable business benefits this data sharing can bring, the business case for breaking down silos within organizations is stronger than ever. Where this may have once been a C-Suite aspiration, the make-or-break implications of insights drawn from this data has made it a business imperative.

Talking Points

“In every industry, our analysis and our work with clients would suggest technology at a minimum is going to be a tremendous accelerant. So if you have a a business model, the opportunity to scale it more effectively, grow it more effectively gets… amplified.” – Greg Case, CEO, Aon

“The way that big data pervades most organizations today creates a dynamic environment for C-level executives to explore how it can and should be used strategically to add business value.” –  Economist Intelligence Unit

Further Reading

chief digital officer

New C-Suite Member: Chief Digital Officer

More than a quarter of the world’s population owns a smartphone. In 2014, global mobile data traffic reached 2.5 billion gigabytes per month, a figure that is 30 times as large as all the traffic on the Internet for the full year 2000. No wonder global companies are moving rapidly to reshape their businesses to meet this new level of connectivity. One way they are doing so is by appointing a new kind of executive, the chief digital officer (CDO). The CDO’s mandate: to equip companies for the digital future. This executive has the dual task of developing an all-inclusive digital experience for customers and the internal capabilities needed to support that experience — while simultaneously managing the considerable investment required. The emergence of the new role to lead the organization’s digital efforts may in part be a reaction to the chronically weak relationships between CIOs and CMOs, which we’ve observed over the last few years.

The number of companies that have hired CDOs remains small — just 6% globally, according to the results of the inaugural Strategy& study of digital leadership at 1,500 of the world’s largest companies. But the number is growing rapidly. Of the 86 CDOs we found, 31 were appointed in 2015. The sectors where the highest proportion of companies have CDOs are travel and tourism, with 31%; entertainment, media, and communications companies, with 13%; and food and beverage companies, with 11%. At the other end of the spectrum, only 1% of mining and metals companies had a CDO; just 2% of those in the automotive, machinery and engineering sectors did; and only 3% in technology and electronics did. One is also more likely to see CDOs in European companies than in their U.S. or Asian counterparts, and CDOs are more likely to appear in large companies than small ones. We suspect that in many cases where a CDO has not been appointed, it is because the related responsibilities are already distributed among other top management roles and are entrenched in all aspects of the company’s culture.

In the past, traditional CIOs and CTOs were focused primarily on their companies’ IT, managing employee desktops and enterprise-wide ERP and CRM systems. The CDO role, although it varies from one company to another, is far more comprehensive. Besides customer experience, the development of digital features in new products and services and the relevant operational changes, the CDO may oversee changes in technical infrastructure and innovations in data collection and analysis. The CDO must also be an agent of cultural change, championing the digital transformation throughout the company and linking it to the development of the distinctive capabilities that form the basis of a company’s strategy.

Here are glimpses of chief digital officers (or people in similar roles) at four major companies, and the ways in which they meet the challenge of digital transformation:

–Jessica Federer is head of digital development at Bayer. “The data piece is actually the easiest,” she says. “Data is data. It’s the people piece that’s the challenge. So we focus first on the people in the organization, and how we connect across synergies, across silos, over platforms and data.”

Soon after she was appointed, Federer created a digital council consisting of the CIOs and CMOs of the relevant divisions at Bayer. Their task was to look at potential synergies. She also fostered a huge network of people involved in some aspect of digital transformation, to which she gave the acronym NERD (Network for Enterprise Readiness and Digital). “They bring together digital marketing with digital product supply with digital R&D,” Federer says. “We used to do this in silos, but now we do it by sharing information.”

–At Renault, CDO Patrick Hoffstetter is creating a centralized digital transformation organization, which he calls the Digital Factory. This is not a literal factory, but a metaphorical center for people throughout the company who already work on digital projects and another group working at about 65 outside suppliers. The factory is the nexus of communications about the digital strategy, and the place where resources and experts come to design the transition to what Hoffstetter calls “the connected employee.” The changes put into place at the Digital Factory will affect how people work, what they expect from the company and what tools they are given.

Balancing the timetable for this complex shift is a key part of the CDO’s role. “One reason most operations in digital strategy and transformation are focused on sales and marketing is that these functions have a direct, quite short-term impact on the business,” Hoffstetter says. “Whereas when it comes to the evolution of internal processes, internal social networks, acceleration of collaborative tools and internal training, it’s much harder to show any payback, and it takes a lot longer.”

–Corinne Avelines, CDO of the decorative paints division of the Dutch chemical company AkzoNobel, says broad support is critical: “Commitment at the top management level to innovation and digitization has made my job considerably easier,” she says. “Senior support is key to ensuring commitment to digital at the company, especially one of this size.”

At the same time, she says, overall strategy must always drive decisions about how and what to digitize. “Gaining a competitive advantage in a fast-digitizing age is a challenge, so CDOs must understand their company’s current position and future strategy — what will make an impact on providing value to the customer — and focus on that. Worry about the other things later.”

–Visa CDO Chris Curtin says that he has learned to participate actively in the creation of the overall business strategy — and lead the process when necessary. “I not only think that the best CDOs are reflective of the business,” he says, “I think that in many respects they are the business.” To that end, he believes that CDOs should “forget about digital. Forget about new media. The business objective has to permeate the thinking and the strategies and the go-to-market approach of the CDO and his and her team. Never make the means the end. A million followers on Twitter is just a means. The end is the business goal.”

The CDOs interviewed for this study all emphasized the importance of working closely with every function of the business. Being part of top management gives them a critical strategic perspective, but they must also be given the power and support they need from functional groups. Otherwise, they may find themselves with a seat at the table but without the strategic and operational input that the digital transformation needs.

Ultimately, the goal of every CDO is to ingrain the digital agenda so deeply and efficiently that it will become a way of life for everyone and every function in the organization, and a priority for every member of its C-suite. Sooner or later, companies may get to a point where a transformation isn’t necessary, because it has already happened. Digital technology will be so well-integrated that it won’t be a separate issue anymore. It will simply be part of the way people work, and the CDO will move to some new type of challenge.

This article was written by:

  • Roman Friedrich, a leading practitioner with Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business, and a partner with PwC Germany. He is based in Düsseldorf and Stockholm.
  • Pierre Péladeau, a thought leader on digital strategy with Strategy& and a  partner with PwC France, based in Paris.
  • Kai Mueller, a specialist with Strategy& and a senior research and knowledge manager with PwC Germany, based in Berlin.
digital IQ

3 Ways IT Spending Is Changing

The technological environment in which most businesses operate continues to grow more complex and competitive, at an ever-faster pace. It’s not just the competition from innovative, well-funded start-ups that causes upheaval. It’s also the response within established incumbents as they feel the pressure of digital technology. Three examples follow.

• New spending patterns. Budgets are shifting to reflect the new realities in IT: lower costs with cloud-based services, digital technology that permeates every aspect of the business and business leaders’ increased awareness of the art of the possible. Business units accustomed to depending on shared functional resources for, say, mobile customer apps now feel free to engage outside resources to develop their own. Departments can opt for pay-as-you-go collaboration services instead of investing in stand-alone systems, and functions such as marketing have their own tools with which to collect, analyze and act upon data. In 2015, the majority of technology spending (68%) came from budgets outside the IT organization, a significant increase from 47% the prior year. Although the democratization of technology across an organization is generally a good thing, it can have such unintended consequences as duplicative efforts, incompatible systems, inadequate attention given to cyber-risks and off-strategy investments.

• New digital leadership. Enterprise technology used to be the sole domain of the IT function, led by the CIO. Now there is a trend toward broader-based oversight. Some companies are expanding the CIO role to foster a more direct connection between technology and strategy. Other companies are creating a chief digital officer (CDO) or similar role to lead digital transformation efforts. In some companies, titles for leaders who oversee digital strategy include the chief experience officer and chief data scientist. This trend focuses C-suite attention on a company’s Digital IQ, which is valuable; however, it also adds to potential uncertainty regarding responsibilities and governance.

• A new digital debate. Every company has its own point of view about the value of digital technology and how it should be managed. Some of the executives we surveyed define digital as activities related only to the innovation of products and services. Others see it as integrating technology into all parts of the business. Still others say digital is merely a synonym for IT, and some use the term in reference to customer-facing initiatives or data analytics activities. Does this splitting of hairs over definitions really matter? It does if the CEO means one thing and members of the executive team hear something else, especially if it isn’t fully clear who is accountable for the digital strategy.

All this fluidity creates a considerable challenge for business leaders intent on capitalizing on digital technology. Thankfully, there are ways of raising your Digital IQ. You can integrate your digital strategy and business strategy, which means getting top leadership directly involved; you can redesign your innovation practices; and you can invest in a few critical forms of digital prowess, including data analytics, cybersecurity and the building of a digital road map.

This piece was written with:

  • Tom Puthiyamadam, a principal with PwC US, based in New York. He leads the firm’s management consulting practice. He also leads its digital services practice and oversees its Experience Center, which helps clients create next-generation experiences for their customers, employees and partners.
  • Chrisie Wendin, an editor and technology writer with PwC’s Thought Leadership Institute, based in Silicon Valley.