PwC: 5 ways a CDO can transform businesses
As companies move to catch up with the digital future, they are taking a close look at what kind of Cheif Digital Officer they need to lead the way.
In a new report, The Right CDO for Your Company’s Future, Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business, defines five Chief Digital Officer (CDO) “archetypes” – descriptions of typical roles CDOs might play within an organisation.
The Five Archetypes of a Chief Digital Officer:
1. The Progressive Thinker – This executive’s mission is to think imaginatively about how the business could be transformed through digitisation, and to provide the inspiration as the company moves to a fully digital strategy and operating model.
Who should hire them? Industrial companies and others in more traditional industries, such as chemicals, oil and gas, and mining, which already have a stable and strong set of differentiating capabilities but have yet to benefit fully from digitisation.
2. The Creative Disrupter – Unlike the progressive thinker, the creative disrupter has a more hands-on approach to developing new digital technologies and business models.
Who should hire them? A creative disrupter can be especially valuable in companies, such as publishing and retail, which are facing severe changes as a result of digitisation in these consumer-oriented industries.
3. The Customer Advocate – These executives, who typically report to the chief marketing officer (CMO) and head of sales — or could even replace them — are mainly market-driven and customer satisfaction oriented. The customer advocate focuses on the development of a convenient, engaging, and seamless customer experience using design thinking across all channels, digital and physical.
Who should hire them? This type is best suited for companies in customer-facing industries such as retail, banking, and travel, particularly if digital thinking has not yet penetrated the daily lives of their sales and marketing people.
4. The Innovative Technologist – Much like a highly innovative and business-focused CIO or CTO, this CDO promotes the use of new digital technologies to transform the company’s entire value chain, providing the technological groundwork for new digital business models through technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), mobility, social media, and analytics, while improving internal efficiency and finding ways to cut costs.
Who should hire them? Companies in manufacturing industries, for example, should consider turning to these executives to further optimise their supply chains and bring digital technologies to factories and to key production steps such as design and prototyping.
5. The Universalist – This CDO’s mission is typically to manage all aspects of a complete digital transformation. The most visionary of the five archetypes, the universalist can succeed only by having a forceful mandate from the CEO and full power to execute on it.
Who should hire them? The change leader is especially well suited to companies in any industry that find themselves behind the curve in their efforts to adapt to the digital world, and therefore need an executive who can carry out rapid and comprehensive transformational change.
Commenting on the report, Ashley Unwin, PwC’s UK and EMEA consulting leader, said: “European companies are leading the field when it comes to hiring CDOs, with 13 percent having appointed someone for the role1. However, as digital transformation continues to move up business agendas, it’s time for those who haven’t yet invested to prioritise filling the CDO position, as competition for the best talent will only increase.
“Many organisations struggle to know where to start in recruiting for this newly created role. These five archetypes provide an overview of the different roles and responsibilities a CDO could hold in order to help companies work out the best fit for their specific needs and drive their organisation towards a digital future.”
Martin Roets, a London-based principal at Strategy& said: “Having an experienced and dedicated digital leader in place is essential to transforming all aspects of business and ultimately becoming a truly digital enterprise. This person must have the leadership abilities, personality, experience and transformational assertiveness to execute this transformation.
“To ensure companies are able to make the most of a CDO once in place, it’s important to have digital strategy commitment and clarity on the roadmap from the very top of an organisation, with the CDO given the authority to work across all business areas.”
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”