Digital at the heart of organisations

The future (probably).

The end of walled-off departments, skill silos … and the word digital.

For too long, the responsibility in organisations for all-things-digital has been under the control of the digital marketing department, or IT (yuk!). That needs to change as digital become central to how organisations deliver services.

Digital is no longer new, it’s over two decades old, yet despite universal adoption of digital technology by the whole population, digital is rarely at the heart of organisational planning. Marketing departments frequently elect to keep the digital toys to themselves, often restricting usage in a rather over-zealous and paranoid manner.

This walled garden approach to technology is not new. In the 1980s and 90s, IT departments controlled access to emerging information technology and often sacrificed innovation and creativity in the name of control. And we all know what happened when control was finally wrested away from the dinosaurs of IT!

What we should learn from the decline of IT’s iron-fist approach is that the eventual democratising of technology created innovation, competition and growth. These are all good things, so why do marketing departments insist on living in a bubble? Are they blind? Are they afraid?

In fact, the word digital shouldn’t really exist – it’s like saying “wet water” when in compound use. All communication, all branding, all culture, all operations, all finance and all marketing is led by digital needs.

Everyone needs to get involved in the digital journey, from the C-level right down to trainee admin bod – Digital now permeates (drenches?) every corner of every organisation so everyone should be involved to make the most of the opportunities.

During the first information technology revolution (1980s), the skills required to partake were highly-specialised and super-rare. Today, everyone from 8 to 80 years of age has a working knowledge of digital services, applications and social media that can be utilised to help organisations adapt to the digital age.

Even more significant, the older millennials and the following igeneration were either born digital or came of age during the digital era. They are usually way more digital savvy than the Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers that traditionally run businesses. As a result, organisations are stuffed with digital skills, it’s just that they exist outside the C-suite and on the office-floor.

So, if you’re an organisation with staff, get them involved, bring ’em all into the fold – you’ll find some gems and hyper-connected individuals that you can leverage. Think Digital-First.