Roles like chief data officer are ‘short term fix’ says Forrester group director



Companies are creating roles like chief data or digital officer as a “short term fix” to mask tensions between the heads of marketing and technology sections, Forrester Research’s Carl Doty said today.

In a session at the Adobe Summit today Doty, a group director at Forrester, urged chief marketing officers and chief information officers to come together to “rally around the tribal fire” of customer obsession as a way to help bolster their organisations for the future.

“In this kind of environment your only source of competitive advantage is to really obsess about customers and put them at the centre of your business,” he said.

“We mean obsess, we mean nuts, this is the culture you have to infuse in your organisations and not just your marketing departments, but your whole company.”

He pointed to a study it carries out every year on the shares of companies considered customer experience leaders, compared to those who are not, which showed those who are leaders were up on average 43 per cent over seven years and those which were laggards were down 30 per cent on average.

“Three’s no perfect organisational structure for any business,” he added. “This is about working together across the aisle.

“CIOs and CMO don’t always see eye to eye, but those organisations that have trouble in that relationship tend to be the ones we see emergence of these more contemporary roles, chief data officer and chief digital officer for example.

“I view those kind of roles as a bit of a short term fix for the disfunction that lies between these two parts of the organisations.”

Doty was also scathing poor use of data by organisations, arguing while there is “a lot of talk” about using big data for insights there is “very little action so far in businesses”.

He said: “There are companies churning out these reports and they sit on the desks of executives, and maybe you will learn from them for the campaign next year.

“That’s not enough. You need to act on it now. You need to shrink the time between the identification of that insight and your ability as a business to act on it.

“Big data is not a technology or some magic threshold, it’s the practices as well as the technology that is available, and your ability to turn that into actual insight, and act upon it.”

He said if used right it should “fundamentally change the way you market”.

Alex Hayes

Alex Hayes is a guest of Adobe at the Summit conference in Salt Lake City


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