You might be mistaken in thinking that this is the title of my Master’s thesis but the point behind the complex title is to portray the complex relationship that exists across different parts of an organisation.
As you know I’m a student of the South African data analytics market and more recently of the European data analytics and customer experience market. I don’t profess to be an expert in any of these areas – my job is to understand the challenges in these areas and identify people that can share their insights into how to overcome them.
What I’ve come to realise is that whether I’m researching our data analytics events or our customer events, the two areas are so closely linked. And both sides refer to digital transformation. This got me to thinking about how the relationship between the three areas is structured.
Putting the Puzzle Together
Let’s say an organisation has a Chief Data Officer, a Chief Analytics Officer, a Chief Customer Officer and a Chief Digital Officer (unlikely, but hypothetically). Who is at the apex? Or put in another way, whose strategy is at the apex?
We know that, globally, data and analytics is growing in stature rapidly. Organisations want to be ‘data driven enterprises’ that derive value out of their data through advanced (and intelligent) analytics.
But we also know that ‘digital transformation’ is a must if companies are to survive and thrive in modern day business practices.
I’ve asked the questions: is digital transformation at the apex of this relationship with data analytics playing a support/service role? Or are they on the same level designed to work together to create a digitally transformed business?
Depending on a business’s culture and structure both scenarios could hold true. And remember that, in a banking environment especially, data analytics plays a key role in risk and compliance as well as digital initiatives.
The two Chief Digital Officers I’ve recently spoken to in South Africa agreed that whilst digital transformation is a wider-strategic initiative they couldn’t achieve their goals without a clear data analytics strategy and structure. They didn’t see themselves at the apex, or below the apex.
Question(s) answered, I thought. They’re on the same level working in a mutually beneficial way – data analytics supports digital products, channels etc. And digital products, channels etc. provide new data collection points and opportunities to derive customer insights. Job done.
The Moment of Clarity
Just as I was patting myself on the back for putting the puzzle together a moment of clarity was provided by Mike Wright, Chief Digital Officer, Ashburton Investments.
Mike said, once I had posed the questions above to him, that actually, in his view, data analytics and digital transformation work together to drive customer centricity. And customer centricity sits at the apex of the relationship.
Being the diligent student I thought I best not rely on one opinion but rather validate it with more research. Coincidentally we’re developing our Chief Customer Officer Europe event and so I’m researching with CCOs – the perfect person to ask.
And so it was further validated that the drive to become customer centric is supported by both data analytics and digital initiatives. Understanding the customer is customer centric. Developing a digital presence for the customer is customer centric.
The Benefit of the Rear View Mirror
In retrospect I should have known the answer to this all along. When I was developing the 2016 versions of CDO Africa and CAO Africa, and while I was sitting in the sessions, so much of the reason why South Africa’s leading data and analytics professionals were driving their strategies was to better understand the company’s customers and develop better products and more effective channels for them.
I couldn’t see the wood for the trees – my focus was on data analytics.
Its this new understanding that has shaped the themes and content at CDAO Africa 2017. The speakers have been selected for how their work in their respective areas has driven customer centricity (or business performance). A perfect example is Investec’s #morethandata campaign where the bank has realised that to truly understand the customer they need to look deeper than just the transactional data of the customer. Siobhain O’Mahony will share some of the back-story to this when she facilitates a discussion group of how her team achieved enterprise wide buy-in and trust in their advanced analytics.
The event will also feature a Chief Digital Officer panel discussion for the first time to bring in their perspective on the relationship.
Join us in July for Chief Data & Analytics Officer Africa and register before 24 February 2017 to take advantage of the Early Bird price.
By Craig Steward:
Craig Steward is Corinium’s Managing Director for EMEA responsible for developing Corinium’s C-level forums and roundtables across the region. Contact Craig at [email protected]