Digital is truly transformational to an organizational ecosystem when it works, but it is increasingly becoming a potential disaster when it fails. The failure of digital will lead to the reduction in innovation. No-one wins with that environment.

When Digital fails and the customer experience is at best sub-optimal and at worst destructive it is usually due to key factors being overlooked, typically with inputs and implications not on the radar let alone measured correctly. In some instances of digital failure that capioIT has addressed in the past 6 months, the security division of the enterprise was not in alignment with Marketing or technology, for a security based solution, in others the legacy infrastructure was leveraged which was not flexible enough to prepare for the required digital solution.

Clearly most organisations have failed to consider the unintended consequences of digital. Even within such humble business areas as car parking, capioIT has identified major flaws in the execution of so called digital innovation because of the failure to take an end to end approach and think brutally about the implications.

If you or your organization believe digital is about simply enabling Cloud, or investing in Analytics, then you are seriously misguided. Digital has to be much more than that. As capioIT has regularly opined, Digital is much more than technology. Technology vendors and technology departments get too focused on defining it in technology terms, (SMAC being the worst example), and fail to identify it in regulatory, customer, or employee terms, as a result they fail to engage broader aspects of the business. (Insert link)

To avoid these negative outcomes of Digital, some of which can materially impact a share price, capioIT believes that a new role must emerge. That role is the Digital Devil’s Advocate. This role will become essential to enable it to cut through the internal issues and ensure that the unintended consequences or unknown unknowns are identified prior to flawed digital outcomes being dropped upon customers and stakeholders.

The Digital Devils Advocate will need to be across the business, optimistically cynical about all s/he is told, and not afraid to look under the hood, whilst bringing all parties together. He maybe an outsider, and in some instances will work best when s/he is an outsider to the industry. The clarity of a new perspective is critical.

Capture Point

In short, the Digital Devil’s Advocate is more than just a function of the Chief Strategy, Chief Technology or Chief Digital Officer. The role is rapidly becoming increasingly essential if organisations are going to maximize the value they create for Digital outcomes, rather than have to settle for sub-optimal and potentially negative outcomes which ultimately will denude innovation.