How to Rally Stakeholders Around Your Digital Initiative

When it comes to moving the needle on your digital transformation, securing support from champions and participants across your organization is a crucial step.

A recent Pivotree customer survey found that there are several roles driving digital strategy initiatives, including the CEO, CIO, Digital Team, IT, and Marketing. To my surprise, they all seemed to hold equal weight (each rated 4/10), with CEO coming in just a mark above (5/10).

Based on these findings, it’s clear that working with a variety of stakeholders is necessary for any digital or data initiative. In this article, I’ll share my tips for navigating this journey with different roles across your organization.

C-Suite: Vision and Big Picture Growth

Whether it’s the CEO, CIO, or Chief Data Officer (CDO), your c-suite stakeholders will be the visionaries and driving forces behind an overall digital transformation program.

Data management and e-commerce initiatives are two sides of the same coin, and they must happen hand-in-hand. CIOs and CEOs look at these areas from a big-picture standpoint, and define what the end-results should be.

The key performance indicators (KPIs) may vary, but ultimately it boils down to digital growth: online revenue, online conversions, percentage of market share, expanding the digital footprint, customer retention/churn rates, etc.

Digital Team: Connecting Business Drivers to MarTech Requirements

In my experience, the Digital Team tends to be the biggest contributor to digital programs. Whereas the c-suite forms the vision, the Digital Team comes up with the actual strategy for connecting the business drivers to the technical requirements.

Often referred to as the MarTech team (marketing technology), this group is comprised of marketing commerce individuals who can identify how to leverage technology best practices in e-commerce and data to support marketing and sales.

This typically boils down to two key solution areas:

  • Master Data Management – the pipes of the business (the foundation you don’t see)
  • Commerce – the face of the business (everything the customer sees)

Focusing on people, processes, and technology, the Digital Team will uncover specific use cases, or pain-point narratives, and then align those issues with specific solutions. For example:

  • If we solve this process, it will mean this much savings for us.
  • If we add this functionality online, we should see this amount of increased sales revenue.
  • If we add these data points, it can increase conversions by this percentage.

By combining marketing and technology perspectives, the Digital Team can measure how well they are executing the company’s vision with KPIs like time-to-market, efficiency, number of products available for sale, number of active customers, average revenue per product, average order size, order frequency, cost of product returns, cost of SLA issues, etc.

IT: Technology Validation

While the Digital Team establishes what technology features are needed, the IT team validates the technical viability of the technology and its capabilities.

IT may act as realists to ensure the chosen path won’t affect the company negatively from a technical standpoint, and make suggestions for overcoming any roadblocks.

For example, if a company is moving from on-premise to cloud, the IT team will evaluate if the service has enough bandwidth to support their needs, or if the security is reliable. The KPIs for the IT team include areas like speed, uptime/downtime, connectivity, etc.

Marketing: Bringing the Vision to Life

While marketing may be the furthest from the technology, they are often one of the biggest stakeholders when it comes to bringing the CEO/CIOs vision to life.

Digital transformation is all about how to expand the digital footprint across channels, and marketing plays a key role in protecting and promoting the brand. For example, if the company decides to sell via a mobile app or social channel, marketing will help ensure the content is compelling and consistent. The technology must support their initiatives from a feature and capability standpoint.

To measure success, marketing will look at KPIs like marketing-influenced sales, transaction value and quantity, spending efficiency, number of paid touchpoints, share of voice, conversion rates, shopping cart abandonment, customer lifetime value, repeat buyers, etc.

Best Practices for Bringing Together Your Experts

As you can see, each department within the company has an important role to play in digital transformation. As you pull together your data and commerce experts, consider adopting the following best practices:

  1. Develop a Committee: A first step should include forming a committee, or Center of Excellence, that will guide the process. The committee will work to define the use cases, identify the sources of data and assets, and create a data quality framework. This group may include representatives from different departments, lines of business, and/or geographical areas.
  2. Define Governance Upfront: It is also important to establish business rules and data governance at the start of an initiative. Having a group that sets and enforces data standards will be critical to your success throughout every stage of implementation.
  3. Don’t Get Blinded by Technology: Often, people get blinded by the shiny new tech tool, but they don’t really know how to implement it or use it effectively for their business. You must recognize the difference between business capacity and software capabilities. We do a lot of recovery projects for companies that rush into a software purchase before addressing their business challenges. Remember that technology alone never solves a problem. Your business must be capable and ready for transformation.
  4. Take a Journey Approach: Digital transformation isn’t a one-time ‘fix it and forget it’ project – it’s a journey. Companies need a partner that understands digital transformation from beginning to end, and can help them evolve and meet their long-term goals.

Pivotree has a broad view – understanding both MDM and Commerce – which enables us to address the big picture: Defining the capabilities that make sense for your strategy, choosing and implementing the right software, and addressing the people and process transformation that must take place. Some clients come to us after already purchasing software and need help setting it up; while that’s certainly in our wheelhouse, we like to be more strategic and encourage organizations to engage us throughout their journey.

To discuss how our team can bring your company into the next era of digital transformation, contact us here and one of our MDM experts will be in touch.


Check out Pivotree’s ‘The State of Digital Transformation’ report.

Digital transformation is no longer just a buzzword. It’s a necessary disruption that nearly every business must embrace. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all playbook – so, where do you start?

We decided to go straight to the source. We surveyed our B2B and B2C customers to ask what their digital transformation plans look like for the next three to five years, as well as the challenges that stand in their way. The results paint a picture of significant opportunity, as well as potential gaps, that every company must address.

This White Paper Report combines our research findings with insights into what transformation truly entails – plus, guidance from our data and digital mavens to ensure your company is on the right course.

To download the report, click here.

As a director of Pivotree’s MDM practice, Miko leverages over 11 years of in-depth experience guiding and educating businesses on the strategic use of enterprise software solutions and best practices in PIM, MDM, and Print. Miko established his expertise in the pioneer days of PIM and MDM, helping major corporations adopt data management solutions across verticals, including retail, distribution, and manufacturing. Following his time as a PIM Specialist and Pre-sales Engineer, he joined the consulting world, where he has led professional services initiatives and supported strategic partners such as Stibo Systems, Contentserv, Informatica, Agility, EnterWorks, and Salsify. He brings his passion for helping companies ‘adapt relentlessly” to Pivotree, with a focus on providing the end-to-end support clients need to succeed in the ever-changing digital commerce landscape.