Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Is there space in the boardroom for the CDO?

There's loads of discussion online and in companies generally about the role of the CDO - the Chief Digital Officer.

The traditional 'C Suite' must be getting pretty anxious these days, with a new CxO role being suggested as one of their members everywhere they turn.

The list of new senior roles appearing more recently includes:

  • CMO : Chief Marketing Officer
  • CIO: Chief Information Officer
  • CXO: Chief Experience Officer
  • CSO: Chief Strategy Officer

One does wonder if there will be enough seats around the boardroom table to accommodate all these new executives (or more cynically, if there will be anyone left to do the work).

Russell Reynolds, an Executive Search firm describes the Chief Digital Officer role as having the following capabilities:

  • Able to plan and execute long-term strategy around driving customer awareness, engagement, experience and monetization. 
  • Familiarisation with web, mobile and social media and possibly local as well. 
  • Experience in developing new channels and business models, as well as innovative products and services. 
  • Tech savvy, with the ability to manage developers and ask the right questions

However, what I would add to this list is the ability to operate and communicate as the Exec level. There's no point an appointed CDO having all the technical skills and knowledge if they do not have gravitas or the ability to put forward their points eloquently to their senior level peers.

The boardroom seating plan may be getting squeezed, but as businesses evolve and develop... can any major organisation afford not to have digital representation at the top level?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Everything Has Changed

It's not often that I find an image that sums a lot of things all at once, but this final frame from the recent Apple iPhone 6s launch sums up:

  • My position on why every company needs to up their game digitally
  • Why organisations should focus on the customer & experience, not the device
  • That change in inevitable and moving at a faster & faster pace

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Photographing The Castle

Last weekend I got my new drone up and took some photos & video of Inverary Castle. This was done whilst Best of the West Festival went on in the background and with the permission of The Duchess of Argyll.

Hunting Scottish Unicorns

A couple of days ago I posted an article up to Linkedin about The Search For the Next Scottish Unicorn. This mentioned the two Scottish Billion Dollar tech start-ups (Skyscanner and FanDuel) and asked the question about which would be the next. Both, according to sources online, are now worth over £600,000 and so qualify (at the current exchange rates) as tech unicorns.

It will be interesting to see which Scottish tech start-up is the next to reach the 10 figure sum and how that fact will be measured & proved - quite possibly by the investment amount and the percentage taken.

So which ones will be next? Here's some suggestions on who this could be:

Described at the 'Tinder for Fashion' Mallzee is the shopping app that lets you browse and shop over 100 stores from the comfort of your own device.
Having recently raised $4 million (£2.5 million) from a handful of investors including the Royal Mail, the start-up is poised for big mCommerce growth.
The exact percentage taken for the £2.5m injection is not clear. However, give that CEO and founder Cally Russell turned down £75,000 for 15% equity from Peter Jones on Dragons Den (therefore potentially valuing the company at £500,000) so one has to assume that a similar or better deal has now been agreed.

Clear Returns
Clear Returns is a Scottish firm that produces clever software which helps retailers by identifying which goods are sent back by customers and more importantly why.
Founder Vicky Brock raised £110,000 from Angels Den and Angel Academe a couple of years . It's exact valuation is unknown, but it has a decent client list including Scottish-based high street retailer M&Co.

Have I missed anyone?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Scottish eCommerce Charges Are Unfair

If you are a Scottish resident in one of the Highlands and Islands regions, then you'll be only too aware that a lot of eCommerce sites charge you more for your delivery.

Well this fact hasn't gone unnoticed by Citizens Advice Scotland, who a published a report this week on this subject. They found that although fewer online retailers now charge additional fees for delivery to the Highlands and Islands... those that still do are unfortunately charging more than they did in 2012. On average Islanders are now paying 15.8% more and Highlanders have to pay an additional 17.5% for their goods to be shipped to them.

Citizens Advice Scotland identified that only 3.8% of the surveyed retailers now exclude some part of the Highlands and 10.9% exclude some of the Scottish Islands from their delivery offering.

Whilst it is understandable that there's more effort involved in getting a parcel to the remote regions of the UK, has it really become harder in the last 3 years? Or are these retailers (or their fulfillment parrners) using unfair ecommerce delivery pricing to increase their profits?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

UK is now mobile first

Smartphones have now taken over as the preferred device for going online in the UK.

Yes, for the first time the phone has become the device of choice, overtaking the laptop as the primary means of connecting to. Meaning that the UK has joined a select list of countries that are mobile first.

Once regarded as the 'second screen', mobile is now the main screen for a lot of users. They don't use a desktop or laptop as their principle device and sometimes use their smartphone... they consume content and use online functionality on their phone by default. Your customer now expects to connect to whatever they want, wherever and whenever they want.

And yet still so many companies are catching up. They have either got no mobile compatible presence or have a very poor one. And some have just mobile optimised their campaign landing pages, but not the rest of the customer experience (perhaps hoping that the user will be so surprised that the landing page worked correctly on their phone, they would forgive the company for a poor subsequent experience).

Is this as a result of a lack of foresight, poor investment, slow development or just plain ignorance?