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'Digital Leaders Can Resolve Governance and Geopolitical Issues'

CDOs are set to play a key role in the transformation and the future success of the business with their cohesive, 360-degree approach, especially considering the constantly evolving business landscape


BW Businessworld | September 12, 2017



The BW Businessworld article, “Digital Leaders Can Resolve Governance and Geopolitical Issues,” features an interview of Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Puneet Kalra and his thoughts on Chief Digital Officers and digital transformation. An excerpt is below.

As the businesses are increasingly becoming data driven, digital officers are taking a call on the strategies of the businesses. Puneet Kalra, Managing Director, Russell Reynolds Associates, a global search and leadership advisory firm speaks about the role of CDOs, digital transformation, artificial intelligence and more:

Since all businesses are switching towards digital, how do Chief Digital Officer (CDO) can steer business growth?
The pace of digital disruption is picking up significantly across industries, with financial services, healthcare and industrial companies bracing for a projected double digit change in the coming 12 months and the world's largest companies are allotting C-level positions to tech-specific roles, specifically CDO (Chief Digital Officer). The CDO is not an extension of a CIO or a CTO, limited to the lens of tech savviness alone. There is an emergence of a new breed of leaders who are data-driven, business-centric, technology-savvy and well equipped to embrace and master digital transformation.

CDO is an executive who is responsible for transformational changes to shape the business model in emerging digital customer experience and next generation experience. CDOs lead digital business strategy, online services across the web, mobile and social platforms and oversight of enterprise content, applications and infrastructure and oversee operations in the rapidly-changing digital channels. Alongside, they also integrate modern age technologies such as Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data into business operations to enhance client touch points and work efficiencies.

When you say digital transformation is not only a technology discussion but a leadership challenge, what would you suggest to businesses to counter this challenge?
Companies from financial services to industrial sectors are reorienting their strategies and organisations to align with the customer/asset life cycle and decision-making process. They are leveraging digital capabilities to find new, increasingly targeted ways to convert and engage previously inaccessible touch points in the customer journey. Front-end interactions with customers and clients continue to be the priority of digital strategies, but firms are also leaning heavily on digital to collect proprietary customer/client data.

In retail, traditional players are evolving fast and furious to overcome operational and technology challenges to meet customers' demand for a seamless shopping experience across all channels and touch points. An integrated omnichannel outreach coupled with personalised experience and communications make or break the end-to-end customer experience - increasing not just the share of mind but also the share of wallet.

In the industrial sector, sensing and deep learning of the entire asset life span enable enhanced services scheduling and smart pricing.  Companies are able to dispatch/alert the right and nearby engineers to do the field job at the shortest time. The predictive closed loop process enables instant updates from automated alerts to pricing the most efficient issue resolution and parts ordering at the backend. This not just increases productivity and overall efficiencies but also open doors to generate further revenue and business opportunities.

Do you believe that concepts of augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and big data are limited to big firms in India?
The new wave of AR, AI, and Big data are already pushing businesses to build up the capacities to stay ahead in their respective domains. Large multinationals, government organizations, small - mid scale enterprise and entrepreneurial ventures, all are witnessing the constant innovation in products and services; to a large extent, it is redefining business models and increasingly moving towards a collaborative ecosystem across industries, amongst both small and big firms. 

To read the full article, click here.

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'Digital Leaders Can Resolve Governance and Geopolitical Issues'