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6 ways CIOs are moving to the digital enterprise

Lauren Brousell | Oct. 7, 2014
As today's companies pursue an all-digital business model, they face significant challenges. CIOs and a CMO discuss these challenges and offer advice for overcoming them.

digital enterprise
Credit: Thinkstock

The newest buzzword in IT is digital enterprise a company with all-digital customer interactions, processes, jobs and information that's fast and easy to access. A panel of CIOs and a CMO at the recent CIO Perspectives Chicago event to talk about how companies are becoming fully digital and addressing the challenges associated with it.

New Customers and Interactions
Companies that go through digital transformations do risk losing some traditional customers. Increasingly, though, customers expect to interact with companies through digital channels. For example, started as a digital company it was originally created as an online classified ad service but has evolved its customer base to include car dealerships, consumers looking to buy cars and advertisers looking to target potential customers.

Bill Swislow, senior vice president of product and CIO of, says consumers have adopted digital quickly 20 million people use the site, and 90 percent buy a car within weeks but the B2B side of the business has been slower. That should change. "We not only are able to monetize when [customers] are on our site, with modern technology around tracking and cookies, but we can resell other publishers' ads," he says. "We know what [visitors] did on our site and can follow them as they go to other sites."

New Revenue Streams and Investments
Mohit Kapoor, CIO of credit information provider TransUnion says the company has always been data-driven but tries to differentiate itself by acting faster upon data and analytics. For example, TransUnion helps people evaluate whether their health insurance covers certain benefits; more often than not, Kapoor says, people are actually covered but don't realize it.

Previously, it took the company a month to gather the data. Now, with advanced analytics, it can figure out the answer in less than six hours. "This was tangible, real, revenue-generating business that was two to three people within the analytics group working with IT," he says. "They figured it out and we gave them the environment. Now it's a pretty significant business with little investment."

Shifting Company Culture
To become a fully digital company, people and internal processes have to evolve and embrace the change. IDEX, for one, wants to move past its traditional, specialty engineered pumps, fire suppression equipment and flow meters and grow earnings 15 percent each year, CIO James MacLennan says. "How do we create information as a product or service? It's a huge culture shift," he says. "I'm used to creating products that are all about distribution and logistics and we're changing that to bits and bytes."

Data-driven Products and Services
The days of digital meaning a website or ecommerce are long over. Many companies that didn't traditionally offer digital products and services now see valuable opportunities to do so. Marquette Group, a digital marketing and advertising agency, used to provide clients with mostly print ads and only a small percentage digital. Now they are 60/40 thanks to new digital efforts.


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