The true role of a true CEO is to effectively respond to change.
With the majority of businesses focusing on digital strategy and development, they turn to financial leaders to help them understand what the shifting megatrends mean for their company. Developing the strategies needed to respond to these megatrends is an integral role in the position, and the key question a CEO should ask is “How can I best position my team to manage the company’s response to change?”
The Role in Change
Ideally, the finance team is optimally placed to navigate change while maintaining your businesses’ innovative nature. Identifying the effects of a decision on the customer experience, the space it creates for innovation, and how resources can be used to capitalize on the two is critical to navigate change and come out on top.
The value of brand reputation and maintaining cyber security must also be taken into consideration; as well as ways to optimize the supply chain through collaboration, Strategic decision making processes and a sense of the full field of operational efficiency can really make the difference in the role.
History shows that the teams that are ready to harness these abilities and navigate change will always capitalize by:
- Increasing revenue
- Enabling profitability
- Enhancing efficiency
Here are some of the ways CEO´s can be empowered to lead these changes in any company.
The Customer Experience
The digital world has brought about an entirely different approach to the customer experience. Never before has customer data been so widely available. A multitude of platforms allow for direct links into the brains of your customers; through various subscriptions, likes, comments, product reviews, etc. A company taking advantage of this ever-increasing free study group sets themselves up to create a responsive, streamlined product.
Every step of the customer experience is touched by the digital world. From delivery and pricing methods, to what potential customers think of your branding and company image, digital gives your team the opportunity to engage early and often.
Navigating the customer experience is a balance between advising and empowering different teams for success. As an advisor, you will need to focus on the impact of the company’s decisions. When a decision is reached however, your role switches to the enabler; working with your team to quickly organize and implement changes based on your insights.
In navigating this hybrid role, there are 3 markers of a successful CEO:
- The business advisor – objectively assessing the benefits of any decision based on information from business and creative teams. If the numbers are there, how can you take the next step?
- The operation enabler –Once a decision is made, it must be acted on. Most effective changes are cut short by failure to act. Enabling your team to capitalize on a decision while also tracking its outcome is a key to understanding what is working and what is a flop. As change is more consistent in the digital world, tracking the results of each decision is crucial to controlling the future financial operations in the company.
- The revenue tracker – The customer experience in digital can put pressure on the financial team. Types of service, contracts and terms, delivery methods, and payment methods can all divert attention away from proper analysis. Successful leaders stay ahead of the crowd by using revenue automating systems which provide insights they can leverage towards efficient revenue recognition.For every decision made over a certain threshold, there are driving questions that need to be kept in mind as a CEO to ensure success.
- What was spent?
- How did that project meet expectations?
- What are the financial benefits?
- What are the non-financial benefits?
- Where there ‘big picture’ changes made?
- Who is to be held accountable?
In a completely unfamiliar territory, you cannot be afraid to bring in an outsider who knows the technology more than your team does. You will spend less on a specialist and enjoy more success than you will fumbling through what should be a streamlined experience. NMA has been in the industry for years, and can help you quickly position your team to drive the customer experience.
Your Capacity to Innovate
The same insights which allow you to shape the customer experience are largely what allow you to create innovation in your field. Between data mining and the lightning-fast response time of customers gauging their experience with your company, you are empowered to use this guidance and speed product development and launch while increasing adaptability.
Recognize the steps in your customer’s personal journey.
What is your ideal customer buying? That’s your product strategy.
How and why are they buying it? There is your marketing strategy.
How do they usually pay for it? This is your monetization strategy.
How do they then use the product? That is your distribution strategy and customer service strategy.
Game-changing innovation happens at any one of these steps, and it should all be based around one question:
“How can I bring more value to my customers?”
The answer to this question will bring your company the value and recognition it deserves.
If you find breakthrough innovations at every level of the customer journey, yet go bankrupt trying to implement them all at once, were they successful? Definitely not. All you’ve done is given your competitors a new way not to do it.
After you’ve enabled your entire team’s innovative brains, take a step back and objectively assess any proposed changes made by the team.
Use the MOP scale for innovation value:
- Is it Marketable?
- Is it Original?
- Is it Profitable?
Companies often have original ideas with no way to sell their customers on them. Or they have an idea that is both marketable and profitable, but has been done by every competitor in the book. That is not proper innovation.
If all three answers are positive, what is the first step towards implementation?
The Value of Brand Reputation and Cyber Security
Digital is arguably the most important avenue for creating awareness, shaping change, and driving the customer journey. This interaction unfortunately also increases the risk of cyber breaches.
Just as the digital landscape changes on a daily basis, so does the complexity of the cyber threats and risks that companies are exposing themselves to. Businesses must stay informed as to their risks and respond quickly if attacks do occur.
Consider the changing scape of security in any digital business. The use of connected devices, cloud services, mobile connections, social pathways, back-office technologies are all sources of new risks to a company’s data security.
When a data breach occurs, it is important to lock down its impact and potential damage to the company’s reputation. Protecting customer and employee data and confidential information is of the utmost concern. Just one breach in cybersecurity can lead to a loss in trust from all avenues that is extremely difficult to overcome.
Your team plays a crucial role in these efforts. It is their job to know where information is stored, how it is secured, who benefits from stealing it, and how the thieves might access the information.
Absolutely impenetrable protection is nearly impossible, so the finance team needs to identify the most valuable targets and identify how resources can be allocated to support their protection.
Collaboration is an intuitive act in everyday life; why would the digital realm be any different? Various digital technologies help organizations to create synergistic connections, share ideas, and collaborate with leaders in every field. Virtual teams can span thousands of miles, and new partners can be reached with the click of a button.
Success in any digital collaboration depends greatly on the finding, analyzing, and distributing of relevant information among members. While there is a vast sea of digital information – market data, social insight, customer profiles, and internal data – companies can find it difficult to actually do something with all the data they have.
This data has the power to enhance collaborative efforts if it can be properly analyzed and distributed to the group. The CEO should lead the finance team to help create a collaborative environment in the company, making actionable information readily available. Performance measures and incentives can also be used to increase collaborative efforts in the company.
Real time, global communication through digital channels is at the tip of our fingers. This opens the possibility of collaboration to not only the team in your office, but the world at large. Teams which need the help of an outside specialist need only to invite them to any number of business messenging services on the web.
CEO´s can model the collaborative work model with their team for the rest of the enterprise to follow. Just be sure to also take steps to secure the information you share.
Strategic Decision Making
There is no doubt that Digital technology has forever changed the way businesses make decisions. Yet making these decisions effectively seems to be the challenge; as the number of variables and complexity of the info available continues to grow.
There is more information than ever about your target market, but that information is hard to decipher and act upon. The risk of overload is ever-present, as the financial data available is staggering. Many financial teams still struggle with providing meaningful analysis from their data, and finding a new way to approach the data is critical.
While many people try to increase the capacity of the data they mine, a more effective approach is to focus on the values to the customer first. Choose one aspect of business success, such as brand loyalty, and then focus the analysis on how to make driving decisions in that area based on:
- Company trends
- Industry trends
- Performance statistics
- Financial metrics
- Company history
This is a much more efficient way to make decisions based on data. Rather than the data being the focus of the analysis, the value you are trying to add to is. The ability of your team to ask the right questions and identify gaps in the market requires deep understanding and an eye for innovation. As the CEO, your team will turn to you for guidance. To best lead the team to success, ask yourself a few questions. What is the best way to use the data you have to strengthen analysis? What elements of decision making can benefit from digital technology and data? What problems can this data solve for your customers?
Digital development provides immediate opportunities to increase the efficiency of a project as a whole, just as we have discussed the supply chain, the finance team stands to lead the enterprise to success through streamlining the entire operation.
Countless digital toolsets for teams are on the market, and various service providers have “packaged” business tools; allowing teams to study, analyze, test, purchase, and engage with their new capabilities in no time. There is quite literally a service for increasing operational efficiency at every step.
As a CEO, it is important to identify which manual steps are currently being taken that can be automated to increase efficiency. As a growth enabler, it also falls to you to understand the necessary steps to measure and act on insights to changes and trends.
Digital opportunities also position CEOs and their teams to create better control methods of fraud and different risk indicators. Mobile provides new ways of tracking data at the time of purchase, which can help track the entire process and eliminate the need for many manual detection procedures.
Additionally, ask yourself what are the end goals for your company investing in digital technology? Creating a flexible work environment? Freeing up the staff to do other tasks? Saving money? Streamlining procedure? Knowing the real reasons why you are making decisions gives you a strong foundation to stand on when explaining these decisions to others.
Lead the Change
As a CEO, leading your company to change in the digital world is a bit about understanding exactly how much you stand to gain, while also knowing how to ride the wave of flux that is the digital world. The reward is a company that is not simply reacting to changes, but creating them. The team at NMA has been leading this change for years. We help our clients make sense of the digital world and advance them to success through creating disrupting change instead of following trends.