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I am concerned that way too many executives have the “bolt on” mentality when comes to being digital. “Being digital” is a unified way of doing business. In that context, it makes sense to have a Chief Digital Officer. In a “bolt on” world, it does not.

As executives, we get to decide if we want to implement a unified approach to delivering programs, products and services to our customers. It is our choice. It should be intentional. It should be well designed.

One aspect of the research I’d like to highlight here is the need to think of digital as more than simply a bolt-on to your business. To create a digital business able to compete in the age of the customer, we need to think of building out a digital business ecosystem. I know what you’re thinking — “not another ecosystem” — and yes, it’s a very overused term, especially by consultants and analysts. But I simply can’t think of a better term to describe the interconnected and codependent relationships needed in a fully digitized business (see diagram). Source: Chief Digital Officer: Fad or Future? | Forrester Research (Nigel Fenwick)