Building Digital Capability – Part 3: Core Digital Team Capability

Building Digital Capability

As featured in the December IAB Australia blog.

The final two blogs in this series; suitable functions in your digital capability and hiring the right people, are to me very interesting.

I have a keen interest in identifying needed functions for now and the future and, in hiring the right people. The digital industry is in a constant state of change and so it’s important to remember that the digital role you are hiring for today will most likely change in a 24 month period.  

Because every business has its own set of digital needs, please note the following:

  • Even if you use the agency / consultancy model, you will still need a number of the roles listed below
  • Always ensure somebody is going to manage the agency.
  • If you’re running the digital function for a large international company you will require the same functions but the responsibility is most likely to be split across a number of roles.  
  • If you are the small office reporting to a large international head office, the following roles will be more appropriate.
  • I deliberately excluded product development, as I have assumed the product is already established.

Below is a list of role functions I recommend for your digital team.

Good resource planning will ensure you have these functions on your radar even if they are not needed now, as they will be needed in the future. It’s always good to be prepared.

Aside from the first function which in my mind, is the most important, the other roles are in no particular order.

Digital management – if you’ve managed to get to a senior digital role leading a digital team, you no doubt have a broad range of skills and experience for which you´ve been hired.

You will need the support of someone senior with a varied digital experience – someone I call the Swiss Army Knife of digital to compliment you. This person also comes with solid experience in content, production or ecommerce. With succession planning always in mind, your Swiss Army Knife filling this function will step into your role when you’re out of the office or when you move to your next role. Equally this function can also step into and/or help out other digital functions for short periods of time

Content Management – interestingly a few years back, I would not have considered a full time content role important. Back then I relied on business owners to provide and update content.   Content however has become such an integral part of digital across search, social and external content syndication, it is important to have someone in your team who can facilitate the utilisation of content across all digital channels and bridge the divide with offline content.  Ideally, this person will have strong social media skills, a solid understanding of SEO, and can write for different mediums.

Search Paid & Organic – Google and their regular algorithm changes will ensure people experienced in Paid and Organic search will always have roles in the future. This role is essential for your business to ensure you are ranking the best your business can for organic search. It is no longer a set and forget environment.  If there are budget/resourcing challenges, a solid SEO employee can also have some responsible for content management.  Depending on the budgets for paid search you may break this into two separate functions for paid and organic search.   

Business Analysis (BA) – Depending on the cross over with any ecommerce functionality and IT development, access to a good Business Analysis (BA) is important.  A good BA will ensure all your business requirements are documented for any development as we increasingly integrate 3rd party software into our websites (social login, recommendations engines,tracking software, lead generation CRM etc).  Your BA can also be responsible for the all important testing processes, which unfortunately still get missed and not to mention making sense out of all the statistical information available from the tracking software being used. 

Digital Production or Project Management (DP or PM) – Again depending on the size of your organisation or the development capability will determine which of these functions you need.  Digital Production tends to focus on the general day-to-day operations of your digital function and will require very good project management skills and they should be living in a very agile world.  If you are building complex digital platforms then you will need a Digital Production resource but also an experienced Project Manager who understands how to build digital functionality. 

User Experience (UX) – the last function to describe here is the user experience role and given the importance of having a customer friendly interface, I am surprised this role isn’t being given more recognition it deserves. A solid UX function in your business will be able to design and test custom journeys and not necessarily just online.

As noted earlier, the digital role you are hiring for today will most likely change in a 24 month period and so it is important allow room for the function and job description to change to meet new digital demands and business direction.  

The next and final blog in this series will focus on attitude and process ensuring you hire the right person.

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