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Companies told to integrate digital more fully

The bosses of firms have been warned that their digital strategies need to be far more integrated with their overall business direction, after research has shown many are still preferring to go for an add on approach.

According to  its State of Digital Business 2014, Forrester Research has shown significant gaps between how the technology and marketing sides of firms work together.

Essentially causing a “digital strategy execution crisis”, the independent technology and market research company said its study shows a wide disparity across businesses.

The latest research, which canvassed the opinions of more than 1,500 senior business figures in the UK and the US, revealed that 74% of firms have a digital strategy. However, how this is applied within a business was shown to be very different from one to the next.

The research found, for example, that leading luxury clothing retailer Burberry had a digital approach that was central to its business. Others meanwhile were focused only on add on approaches, such as augmenting existing practices or developing defined goals.

This has led to many companies, according to Forrester, that fail to get a coherent approach to managing their technological and marketing arms.

Part of the issue, the report concludes, is that the digital strategy is being set largely by the chief executive officer of the firm, which results in clear strategies not being delivered.

According to the research, just 21% of CEOs in firms of 250 workers or more have a defined strategy. This drops to just 17% in firms of between 1,000 and 10,000 employees.

This simply serves to leave a feeling of uncertainty throughout the business.

A better approach, the report argues, is to involve the chief marketing officer in the mix too, in order to use their ability to better craft, deliver and organise content.

Steven Morris

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