Executive Edition: The Organization in the Digital Age

November 27, 2015



I invite you to read or download the Executive Edition of the 9th annual digital workplace report. I am releasing this special edition so that people can share it with their top level executives who may not yet be, shall we say, “up to speed” on digital.

It includes:

  • Executive Summary
    • Three Stages of Maturity
    • Guidelines for Digital Leaders
    • Digital Organization Framework
  • 7 pages of selected Highlights from the survey including new forms of leadership and governing the digital workplace as a strategic asset.

The full report with data and detailed analysis is available for purchase, but reading the Executive Edition will already give you a good overview.

Please note that I have closed comments here because of excessive spam, and invite you to contact me here on netjmc or on Pulse here.

CDO – A Temporary Role?

October 23, 2015

Roles emerge within organizations that may exist over several years but will probably not be perennial. Roles concerning the digital transformation of organizations may be such roles.

New types of leadership may be fulfilling a momentary need or they may prove necessary over a long period of time.

Three examples looked at in The Organization in the Digital Age are: the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) whose role is to accelerate the digital transformation of organizations, the Community Manager who facilitates the work of communities and, last but not least, the internal Change Agent, the activist in the organization who champions new work practices. (page 89 in The Organization in the Digital Age.)

This post focuses on the CDO.


Data from the most recent survey (Q4 of 2014) showed that only 23 organizations out of nearly 300 reported having a Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Interestingly, when further questioned about the scope of the CDO role, it became clear that in a fair number of cases the CDO was not actually at a C-level, that’s to say reporting directly to the CEO or equivalent in the organization. Instead the individual with CDO-like responsibilities reports to the head of another function, usually Marketing or IT, but has been given the assignment of working on digital things.

The CDO scope must be internal as much as external. If not, transformation will be superficial.


HR should be the digital transformation leader because, in reality, “digitalization challenges” are work culture challenges

October 23, 2015

sunflowersI’m going to HR Tech World in Paris on October 27 and 28, and I expect to meet lots of people who will disagree with my findings, or least be uncomfortable with them. I have conducted surveys with over 300 organizations worldwide and written reports annually on “digital inside” for the past nine years. One of my observations:

HR is the function in most organizations that is the least advanced digitally speaking.

My findings over past years: HR is not very social, nor very collaborative.

In 2011, the data showed that HR was the least involved stakeholder in social media internally and externally. Here.

In 2013, based on my data, I observed that “HR professionals say their organizations have specific concerns around social collaboration and two of these concerns suggest a lack of trust in people: “wasting time” and “irresponsible behavior”. They are expressed more strongly by HR than by Communication and IT professionals.” Here. (more…)

How human is your digital agenda?

September 22, 2015

This was the theme of the Executive Round Table organized last week in Munich by Roland Berger, The Harvard Business Review and the Peter Drucker Society Europe. It was an “appetizer” event for the Global Drucker Forum which will take place in Vienna on the 5th and 6th of November. There is a good summary of the event on the Roland Berger news stream as well as a 5-minute video.

I was the only “non company” person on the panel, which let me speak from a different perspective than the other participants. Here’s a digitized version of one of my flip chart sketches I used during my presentation. My message was: “There’s a huge gap between digital deployment inside organizations and real impact on people and business. It comes down to mindset and work cultures.”

flip chart gap

I adressed some of these issues in my blog post on the Harvard Business Review Digital: The Company Cultures that Help or Hinder Digital Transformation.

Can HR Help Bridge the Gap?

September 3, 2015

bridgeThe internal digital work environment has evolved dramatically over recent years. I have conducted surveys and written reports annually on “digital inside” since 2006. This October I’ll be attended HR Tech World Congress in Paris on October 27 – 28.  I will be interviewing speakers and attendees, and collecting input on this question: Is HR helping to bridge the gap between words and actions — between intentions and reality — when it comes to digital inside organizations? And if so, how?

The HR Effect — Correlation or Cause?


Visibility or Secrecy — Is Amazon Lacking a Key Digital Value?

August 18, 2015


Digital brings visibility and accountability. Inside organizations, the digital workplace enables conversations and creativity that happen faster and deeper than in pre-digital times. You can see where ideas come from, see what others are saying and doing. You can jump in and get involved.

Secrecy is not part of the digital mindset. Yet secrecy is an underlying element of the Amazon culture according to the recent article by the New York Times.


Digital Transformation — Beyond the Individual

August 11, 2015

bees togetherBeyond the Individual to the Organizational Commons

Digital transformation starts with the individual. As digital spreads inside an organization, from person to person and team to team, the organizational commons begins to emerge. However, organizations quickly arrive at a make-it or break-it moment. Either digital remains an ad hoc, nice-to-have activity, or the organizational commons takes shape and digital transformation gets real.

By organizational commons, I mean networks and communities where resources, information and content are created by many and accessible to many. The determining principles are shared contributions, shared responsibilities and shared benefits. The commons is the springboard to digital transformation.

We Are at a Major Turning Point


The Organization in the Digital Age — 10 Key Findings

May 15, 2015


This post presents 10 key findings from The Organization in the Digital Age, the 9th annual report about the workplace.  It is based on input from nearly 300 organizations worldwide.

  1. Digital Humanizes and Energizes Organizations by Making Work Personal
  2. Excellence in Customer Satisfaction Correlates to Strong Digital Workplaces
  3. Digital Workplace Maturity Significantly Higher in Organizations With Culture of Trust
  4. Finding People “Who Know” Is Winning Over Finding “The Information I Need”
  5. Mobile Services in 2014 Did Not Achieve Predictions Based on 2013 Data
  6. Few Organizations Have Chief Digital Officers in Fullest Sense: C-Level and Broad Internal-External Scope
  7. Community Management Becoming Embedded in Other Roles
  8. Top Change Driver: Sense of “Why”
  9. Overall Results from Digital Workplace Scorecard Show Good Progress Between 2013 and 2014
  10. Most Challenges Linked to Mindset of People and Organizations


Telling a story about leadership in the digital age

March 18, 2015

I tried out Storify to see if the tweets from my keynote session at CongresIntranet in Utrecht had capture my main messages. Storify is a great tool for seeing at a glance what has been picked up by people listening to you and asking questions. Here’s the edited result of my investigation.

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 22.03.43


Leadership in the Digital Age

March 18, 2015

This presentation combines my keynote talk and breakout session at CongresIntranet 2015.

Leadership in the Digital Age from Jane McConnell