5 Challenges for the Digital Leader in 2016

Posted by Jason Stidworthy On January 21, 2016

After a couple of year working overseas, I recently returned to Sydney and started investigating employment opportunities. This entailed numerous cups of coffees with recruiters, former colleagues and vendors and a few potential employers. Out of these discussions I noted a number of interesting challenges facing digital leaders in 2016.


1. Digital talent – finding and keeping good talent
This isn’t a new challenge for 2016 and was a growing issue when I left Australia a couple of years ago. According to recruiters there is a shortage of experienced mid-level digital talent in Australia resulting in significant wages growth to attract talent. January/February is always a good time to review your teams salaries against the market and remember it will cost more to replace a good employee than to give them a market based pay rise. Not all employees are motivated by money and this is where a good training and development program will aid in retaining talent.

2. Where to focus digital resources?
Digital transformation is the core phrase in Australia with a number of large businesses somewhere in the midst of their digital transformation programs. The challenge here will be ensuring your resources are focused in the right area for the maximum business benefit and your stakeholder expectations are managed with this. Stakeholders who need to wait for their projects to be developed needed to be managed accordingly.

3. Keeping the lights on
With the focus on delivering digital projects, it is always a challenge to maintain ‘business as usual’ activities and keeping the team motivated and engaged. It is important to keep the lights on and maintain customer service levels. Try combining the reporting for both business as usual and digital projects and this will ensure both areas receive suitable business focus.

4. Navigating through the jargon
I had forgotten how we love a good catch phrase in Australia. When a recruiter asks you to give examples of digital disruption, you know the term is being over used and misused. Digital disruption, transformation, innovation etc, it is important to define what this digital jargon means to your business and the C suite and then manage their expectations with what will be delivered digitally.

5. Finding the time
Digital will continue to evolve and this is one of the most exciting parts of being a digital leader. However, this is a challenge trying to find time to read and learn about new digital technologies, campaigns, statistics etc. I find starting the day with 30-60 minutes reading email newsletters keeps me almost up to date.

Jason Stidworthy is a regular contributor to IAB’s Big Tent Blog. More of his work can be found at www.jasonstidworthy.com.

Jason Stidworthy