Jonathan Becher

This special episode of the Substance series is a follow-up with Jonathan Becher, Chief Digital Officer at SAP where we discuss what it means to create digital shifts today. The original in-depth and personal interview in 2014 revealed how Jonathan (at the time the Global CMO at SAP) defined “Social Business” and how it enabled him to profitably manage marketing within a massive 77,000 employee, 20 billion dollar organization.

Now 2.5 years later, he has transformed his role at SAP to focus on building end-to-end digital business units within SAP as the CDO.

Through this transition to digitizing a business model, Jonathan has become a true cultural change agent within SAP. Over the course of the past 16 months, he and his team have identified six key mindset issues that get in the way of a business becoming more digitally affluent; some of which he shares with me during our talk. He has also gained a revolutionary perspective on the widely recognized focus on customer experience by taking it to the next level: complete business model transformation.

In This Interview:

  • The most common (and extremely different) definitions of what it means to be a “Chief Digital Officer”
  • Why cultural change agents need to be firmly planted in the middle of an organization and not sequestered to the outside edge
  • How hiring a consultant can lead to blocking cultural changes
  • Why a mindset of experimentation means rephrasing the idea of failure
  • How a successful shift to focusing on customer experience leads to a change of your business model

Quotes From This Interview:

“A lot of the adjectives we used to use in marketing (social marketing, or social media marketing, etc) have gone away so it’s just marketing.” —@jbecher

“If your mental model is all digital and if you’re in a company that’s traditionally not done digital, there’s some back-end infrastructure to share but not the stuff that you would expect.” —@jbecher

“No matter how much time I spent digitizing marketing, if the rest of the company wasn’t synchronized and often digitized, it was going to be hard to prove impact.” —@jbecher

“When you are doing digital transformation, the disruption you’re doing isn’t really to your competitor but it’s normally to your existing business model. And companies don’t like disruptions to their existing business model.” —@jbecher

“People are recognizing now that only changing the experience without also changing the business model means you didn’t really digitally transform.” —@jbecher

“While we have done a decent job of going from data to analytics, we have done a terrible job of going from analytics to action.” —@jbecher

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