By David Dalka, Founder and Managing Director of Fearless Revival
As E-commerce organizations mature, they need to acquire a new breed of senior executive. One that understands the entire organization, has proper business acumen and perceptual acuity. Only these individuals are able to understand the department interactions. They can then reallocate resources, alter organizational design and create proper customer focus. You need to acquire a Chief Operating Officer.
Senior executives still need to have a strong understanding of E-commerce technology in organizations. Yet despite popular perception, it is not the most important primary skill. Business acumen capable of discerning the right change(s) to lead is the most important skill.
Certain technology skills become less vital as more and more use Software-as-a-Service (SAAS) capabilities. A growing percentage of technology is now acquired from outside of the organization. Technology also tends to become easier to use as time progresses. Opportunities exist to reconsider the balance and quantity of business and technology. Redesigned organizational charts and new skills will realize the future. We are in the infancy of this future organizational shift. Executives with the proper business acumen are in shortest supply. Yet those innovators are never considered in the current passive recruiting false paradigm. Active candidates are the ones with the passion and hunger to change the status quo.
Organizations who take relevant action to alter priorities and values will be market leaders. Those who maintain the status quo will become irrelevant. They will lose focus on the true business acumen issues that matter. They will continue to chase a treadmill of technology buzzwords and outright misinformation.
Large, leveraged professional services firms are creating dysfunction. These practices offshore tasks to third-tier wage countries while disintermediating your internal talent. This leads to conflicts of interest and severe corporate governance problems. Alternatives to business strategy consulting firms exist. Understanding the significant opportunities on the horizon can make all the difference. Until you remove the unreality and misinformation inputs, you cannot move forward.
The trends in the Chief Operating Officer space suggest outright employee disintermediation. I am fascinated by the consistent trends in this data. They serve to confirm my views on the need for a new direction for the future of the enterprise. A recent Wall Street Journal article recently cited the 2016 Crist|Kolder Volatility Report. It stated, “Nearly 30% of S&P and Fortune 500 companies have a sitting COO, down from 48% in 2000.”
This shift can have adverse effects. It can create gaps in succession planning and knowledge management. It leans towards specialist tasks that can often miss the bigger picture. It appears that certain firms are advising executives to leave that role vacant. They then reallocate budget to their services of large, leveraged junior staff. This has many serious opportunity costs. It serves to isolate the Chief Executive Officer from diverse perspectives. It also creates dependency on these firms. This can create false security, business continuity and enterprise risks.
All executives need to consider this. Executives attending the International Machine Tools Show 2016 (#IMTS, #IMTS2016) especially need to consider these trends. Manufacturing has a major opportunity to transform business operations. Many of these firms need to reconsider their priorities to remain competitive. Future market leaders across will create Ecommerce strategies to stay relevant and compete.
I believe that the trend of the disappearing Chief Operating Officer is not a healthy one. Hiring a Chief Operating Officer with the right business acumen and E-commerce skills positions companies to grow. You may wish to bring in a temporary one at first. It can also be a great way to groom a successor. This is true in a Fortune 500 company, E-commerce organization or a family business.