Installer un Chief Digital Officers au sein d’un comité exécutif serait une fausse bonne idée pour Pascal Cagni, l’ancien vice-président d’Apple Europe.
Les CDO (Chief Digital Officer) semblent avoir déjà gagné la bataille du management et des comités exécutifs, où ils siègent chaque jour plus nombreux : selon le cabinet américain Gartner, 25 % des entreprises devraient avoir leur CDO d’ici à 2015.
Leur rôle ? Augmenter l’« intensité numérique » de toutes les fonctions de l’entreprise, faire passer les organisations de l’ère de la méfiance numérique à celle de la performance digitale.
Il y a urgence : toujours selon les experts de Gartner, il y a 12 ans, les dépenses consacrées au numérique étaient équivalentes à 20 % du budget des systèmes d’information géré par le directeur informatique (CIO). En 2020, ce montant devrait être équivalent à 90 % du budget IT !
Séduisante pour beaucoup, l’idée même du CDO est à mon sens l’archétype de la fausse bonne idée, à peu près aussi pertinente que la nomination d’un CEO (Chef Electricity Officer) au moment de l’invention de l’électricité.
Car le virage numérique n’est pas une option tactique mais bien un impératif stratégique. Il doit irriguer et impacter la structure même de l’entreprise et la sensibilité de tous ses dirigeants (opérationnels et fonctionnels) et de tous ses administrateurs.
En attendant le changement de génération et la prise de pouvoir, inéluctable, par les « natifs numériques » (« digital natives »), les CDO continueront donc à travailler paradoxalement à leur propre perte, en préparant avec enthousiasme, à tous les niveaux de l’entreprise, ce jour probablement pas si éloigné où le numérique ira de soi.
A moins qu’ils ne préparent leur propre triomphe ? Après tout, le profil idéal du CDO d’aujourd’hui ressemble étrangement au profil… du CEO de demain !
Pascal Cagni est administrateur de sociétés, investisseur et ancien vice-président d’Apple Europe.
This five-part series has shared case studies and examples of how the social era affects all areas of the business model: how we create, deliver, and capture value. (See part one, part two, part three, and part four.)
Here’s a quick visual summary of what we’ve covered so far:
These changes are not transitory or reversible, but fundamental and irrevocable. The social-era models are inherently more fast, fluid, and flexible than the models that preceded them. The big question is: how are we actually going to do this thing?
And it is a huge question: it is a life’s work-sized-question that can’t possibly be answered in a blog post, or even a series of posts. But I can offer three actionable, thought-provoking exercises that you can start with, today:
From paid to purpose-driven. In the social era, purpose precedes scale. And as we discussed in part two of the series, shared purpose allows many communities to engage with you — without you having to invest resources in controlling their actions. When TED unleashed TEDx, they created a force multiplier. Shared purpose aligns people without coordination costs.
Purpose is also a better motivator than money. Money, while necessary, motivates neither the best people, nor the best in people. Purpose does.
Actionable exercise: Have the people you work with write down the purpose of your work, then compare answers. Then ask, are any of these purposes something that would create a multiplier effect? Engage hearts and minds?
From isolated organizations to communities. The social era will reward those organizations that understand they can create more value with communities than they can on their own. Communities of proximity, where participants share a geographic location (Craigslist is an example but co-working locations are another) will allow people to organize work differently. Communities of passion who share a common interest (photography, or food, or books) can inform new product lines. Communities of purpose will willingly share a common task to build something (like Wikipedia) that will carry your brand and its offer to another level. Communities of practice, where they share a common career or field of business, will extend your offer because it extends their expertise (likeMcAfee mavens). Communities of providence that allow people to discover connections with others (as in Facebook) and thus enable the sharing of information, products and ideas.
Actionable exercise: Imagine that if you asked, you could get communities to co-create with you. What could you do together? What would be one way to try it out?
From centralized to distributed. While management often espouses the notion that good ideas can come from everywhere, in practice there are “thinkers” who create strategies and designated “doers” who execute those strategies. But that only leaves an air sandwich in the organization, where debates, tradeoffs, and necessary discussions are skipped. This air sandwich is the source of all strategic failure. Instead of centralized decisions, we need distributed input and distributed decisions.
Actionable exercise: Rather than making command and control a “bad” thing, discuss what areas needs which controls. Then examine how more, if not most, areas and decisions can distributed (and thus made radically more flexible). For the purpose of the exercise, say that you want 50% or 70% all decisions to be free of permission-seeking and check-ins. What would it take to get there?
When we emphasize purpose, engage communities, and distribute decision-making, we begin to stop talking about being fast, fluid, and flexible, and actually begin to make our organizationsbecome fast, fluid, and flexible. This can change how we organize every single part of these organizations — from what we make, to how we product and distribute, to how we market and sell. Everything.
Disrupting How We Work
Many of you know of Clay Christensen’s iconic work the Innovators Dilemma. Small newcomers eat off bits of an established leader’s business through lower cost structure and a willingness to accept lower margins. This phenomenon has been seen in industry after industry, and usually focused on the cost of delivering goods and services. In other words, “Look how the steel mini-mills making rebar disrupt the established integrated steel mills making sheet steel.” At each point in the disruption, it makes economic sense for the big company to surrender that bit of the market to the disruptor, and so big companies logically put themselves out of business.
I think there is an analogous process going on with the organizational structure of businesses themselves; that aside from market-specific competition from below, there is also competition from disruptive organizations that are finding new ways to get work done. This change is just as threatening to established businesses as the process competitors Christensen identified, and just as difficult to respond to.
Where once you could reexamine the organization’s model (the how) every few years to support the rest of the business (the what), reinventing the how becomes its own muscle to develop.
How does this lead to disruption? To answer this question, let’s look at Singularity University, which I mentioned earlier in this series. You might recall that they deliver an education curriculum of 300 hours with seven full-time staff. Their organizational model lets them then fluidly reinvent what they create next, thus baking innovation in with their disruptive design. In particular some 80% of their business resources are fluid. Their purpose doesn’t change, but their “what” does. Their business model allows them to persistently review “what’s the next big thing” and adjust. Using Christensen’s metaphor, educational institutions are the sheet steel with its ever-increasing tuitions to support their tenured staff, while Singular University is the rebar. But their flexible design gives them the chance to keep being the “rebar.”
What Happens Now
Rather than try to power through with size, we’ll have to find power through shared purpose.
Rather than hiring and directing inside the walls of an organization, we’ll tear down those walls altogether and allow everyone to own a part of the big picture.
Rather than taking long stretches of time to perfect something, we’ll build fast, fluid and flexible organizations.
What we create in the end will be a different type of organization, one that embodies a culture of innovation.
Since I began writing this series, many of you have written publicly and privately asking, doesn’t this just mean the “800-pound gorilla” dies? Entrepreneurs and the startup ecosystem who embody fast / fluid / flexible attributes certainly believe that the established players are fated to die. Many think of these big organizations as the dinosaurs of our time. But one can look at the history of dinosaurs and see that dinosaurs didn’t really die. Paleontologists have suggested that dinosaurs are all around us today actually, as birds.
Applied to today’s business giants, the analogy probably holds. The “species” that adapt to the changes in the environment faster will do better. That is for sure. What is less clear is what they will become as they adapt. Perhaps the new model for a successful business should be “Nimble.” Or “Flux.” Or “Humanized.” Or “Networked.” Frankly, I find the search for naming less-than-fruitful. We have plenty of names already; will another name really help you act?
Over time, there will be a lot more dots filling out this picture. But the fundamental principles of the social era are already clear enough to form a new set of organizing principles for business. The world has changed; how we create value has changed. Organizationally we have not. It’s time to pay attention to these emerging business models now, to benefit our organizations, our economies, and ourselves.
Social media is rapidly transforming the way organizations communicate with customers. As a cost-effective way to engage online, social media gives companies broader reach beyond traditional communication methods like email. With a simple post or tweet, businesses can promote products and services, provide instant feedback or support, creating an online community of brand enthusiasts. Staying competitive in today’s fast moving business landscape requires a solid social media strategy. Today’s #E2sday looks at some of the reasons your organization should be including social media in your communication strategy.
We started this week’s roundtable with a discussion of the top 10 tech trends to watch for the upcoming decade. The trends include Cloud computing, outsourcing, social Web, vertical and local Web, smartphones and tablets, online advertising, online video, online gaming, e-books, and bootstrapped entrepreneurship. You can find details in the blog post onhttp://www.sramanamitra.com.
As for the entrepreneur pitches, first up today was Bhupendra Kanal withInRev, a social CRM analytics company. Bhupendra has built a product and has started engaging a few customers. He is, however, playing in an extremely, extremely crowded space. Bhupendra’s questions were largely around competition. My key advice to him was to focus on acquiring customers, and getting a thorough positioning exercise done based on segmentation, competitive analysis and market sizing to identify a segment where competition is less active and the product is particularly effective.
Next Deborah Walliser with Solsustech discussed GotProduce.us. Today, the company produces low carbon footprint fruits and vegetables and sells to distributors in California, Nevada and Arizona. However, Deborah is looking for ways to sell her low carbon footprint green house technology to producers, and is in conversations with producers in Senegal and India. I asked her to stop wasting her time on producers in countries that do not have any focus on carbon footprint optimization, and instead look for countries and states with governments that have incentives and programs to encourage producers to optimize their carbon footprint. Hard ROI is essential to get dollars flowing.
Then Jimmy Hendricks presented DealCurrent.com, a white label platform for media companies to manage daily deal advertising on behalf of brands. Jimmy already has about 65 customers and about a million dollars in annual revenue. The company is profitable and has so far raised only $400,000 in friends and family and angel financing. The top two competitors are both venture funded to the tune of $5 million each, and have about the same or lower customer traction. Jimmy asked if he should be raising money at this point.
My advice was to not raise money if he didn’t need to. Jimmy has already managed the most complex part of the bootstrapping phase with very little outside investment. At this point, he can grow organically and leverage channel partners and other creative modes of non-equity financing and preserve equity as much as possible. This also makes it much more lucrative for him in the event that an acquisition happens in the medium term. More investment would make it more difficult to get a lucrative exit that creates sizable returns for everybody.
It is clear to me, after doing these coaching sessions for over two years, that entrepreneurs need a lot more training on positioning and go-to-market. As such, I have created video lecture modules with case studies in the 1M/1M premium lounge on these topics with very specific guidance on what analysis to perform and how. The easiest way for me to teach a large number of entrepreneurs some of these basics is to have you spend 30-40 hours on the curriculum I have created, and THEN have you come work with me on refining your strategies and positioning.
I have thought a lot about how to make entrepreneurship education and eco-system scalable and accessible to a vastly larger number of people. The answer to that question, I believe, is the 1M/1M Premium Lounge. Over the upcoming months, the program will become much, much richer. But for the moment, we can get you started and give you a significant jump-start.
Sramana Mitra is a technology entrepreneur and strategy consultant in Silicon Valley. She has founded three companies, writes a business blog, Sramana Mitra on Strategy, and runs the 1M/1Minitiative. She has a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her Entrepreneur Journeys book series, , , , as well as , are all available from Amazon.
One of the enduring marketing myths is that a new brand that will eventually become a big brand has to take off in a hurry. And that a marketer should devote enormous resources to assure a rocket-ship launch.
One of the hottest food categories of this decade is ‘low carb’. From 2002 – 2004 1,558 new low-carb products were introduced. Sales of low-carb products near the height of the craze in 2004 was $30 billion.
And when did the low-carb revolution start? Thirty-four years before the craze with the publication of Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution.
More than three decades had to pass before low-carb became a high-visibility category. Not all categories are alike. Some grow faster than others. High-tech, for example, is one of the fastest growing.
Perhaps no product grew as fast as the personal computer. The first PC was introduced in 1975, the same year Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to go to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to write a basic software program for the MITS Altair 8800 computer.
Microsoft, the company Gates founded, is today one of most valuable companies in the world, worth $76 billion on the stock market.
Things weren’t always so rosy. On February 3, 1976, Bill Gates wrote an open letter to Altair users complaining about software piracy. Published in the Homebrew Computer Club newsletter, Gates stated, ‘The amount of royalties we have received from sales to hobbyists makes the time spent on Altair BASIC worth less than $2 an hour.’
Most people who found themselves working for less than $2 an hour would have looked for some other line of work. Not Bill Gates. His faith in the future of his software paid off in a big way.
The way to build a new brand is by creating a new category. And creating a new category takes time. It even takes awhile for a new category to be recognized as a new category. One of Bill Gates’ early problems was the perception that computer software wasn’t worth anything. So owners just copied the software needed to operate their computers from friends. (Less than 10 percent of Altair owners bought Microsoft’s software.)
There are two theories for launching a new brand.
Theory A (for airplane) is the airplane launch. Your new brand rolls slowly down the runway for thousands of feet and then after a massive effort your brand slowly lifts off the concrete. After your brand is airborne for awhile, it starts to accelerate into its cruising altitude.
Theory B (for big bang) is the rocket-ship launch. Your new brand takes off like a rocket and then coasts into orbit.