Gartner Blog Network

What your Chief Digital Officer will be reading this summer?

by Andrew White  |  June 17, 2013  |  3 Comments

Book Review:  Converge – Transforming Business at the Intersection of Marketing and Technology, by Bob Lord and Ray Velez, 2013, Wiley. 

This is a slightly longer book review than I normally do since the topic of the book is relevant to parts of my coverage area, and also a hot topic for many parts of Gartner.

If you are an avid reader of books touting how IT enables innovation, transformation, or paradigm shifts, you’ll probably put this on your shelf.  The CEO and CTO of Razorfish capture most of the current thinking around how technology is changing the face of marketing.  There is much to like in the book.  The authors rightly focus on trends related to “markets of one” (nod to Jeff Woods, formally of Gartner, now SAP) that imply a massive shift in approaches to brand management and marketing strategies.  There is also an effective dialog about agile, and how agile marketing is in fact the key point.  Long gone are static models and approaches; the call is for a more active, dynamic marketing strategy – across a collection of agencies and skill providers.  There is some good background on what holds many firms back (e.g. silos and the wrong metrics) but there are gaps that are not filled – a talk about single version of the customer but noting about how this is achieved (Master Data Management).  For IT geeks in marketing, the book includes a write up of all the latest concepts, from the South Korean “shopping wall” (versus shopping mall) to personal devices increasing the amount of data about us that marketers could use.

The sections on cloud overstep the mark.  The speed and benefit of attributed to “cloud” should properly be attributed to (commoditized) ubiquitous CPU and processing capability coupled with innovative, unique service concepts (what Razorfish seeks to add).  Cloud – whatever that is meant to mean, does not provide innovation on tap.  The section on agile methodology is excellent; and the section on change management is predictable.

Some other topics are not new at all – and better handled in other books.  Some of my favorites are:

There are also gaps in the book.  The topic covered is fast changing – at Gartner we strive to remain on top of all things IT so publishing a book (itself a legacy concept?) brings relevancy risks.  In the section on big data, there is no reference to the growing challenge of governance and the shift “from truth to trust”.  In the sections on ubiquitous computing and the quantified self (talk with my colleague Frank Buytendijk on this), there is too much hype about the fledgling tools and technologies mentioned– many of themhave numerous stability, maintenance and reliability issues in the field.  Just go to the vendor sites and read their community blogs.

Overall a good, reasonably up to date view on what the Chief Digital Officer should be thinking about.  But readers need to read this quick, keep it as a reference, and get onto the latest Gartner research on the topic.  My colleage Yvonne Genovese is leading uor thinking on this new role.  Recommended 8 out of 10.

Category: chief-data-officer  chief-digital-officer  information-leadership  information-management  

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a research vice president and agenda manager for MDM and Analytics at Gartner. His main research focus is master data management (MDM) and the drill-down topic of creating the "single view of the product" using MDM of product data. He was co-chair… Read Full Bio

Thoughts on What your Chief Digital Officer will be reading this summer?

  1. Dave Clark says:

    Andrew – appreciate the post as an avid Digital fan and EXP champion of it in Gartner – I really liked this book. I still think that many organisations/individuals still haven’t really grasped the fundamental shifts this thinking will have of so many aspects of their business (and lives!).

    I am agile bore – so I loved the agile section LOL

  2. Thanks so much for your post. Some very good suggestions.

    I’d love to hear about some more reading options – books or online resources.

    Thanks again.

Comments are closed

Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.