Data can be source of power

“There is an important consequence of this increasing focus on customer data and customer experience, says David Mathison, a New York-based executive search specialist and founder of the CDO Club, a networking organisation for chief digital officers and others in related roles.

An understanding of data analysis techniques and approaches is now a must-have skill for anyone with ambitions to lead their company’s digital transformation strategy, he says.

“There are plenty of data out there and not enough insight – and that’s broadly true across companies, non-profit organisations and government agencies,” says Mr Mathison.

That is not to say that those in charge of starting new digital channels need to be highly technical, “big data” specialists, he stresses: they typically have an insights and analytics team to provide that expertise.

But they must have a very firm grasp of what their data are telling them, “because, after all, that’s where competitive advantage really lies”.