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Long-term tech strategy: Advice from a Chief Digital Officer

September 11, 2022 / 23:37 / E3

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"Too often we build things and then we just let them sit. In all the important aspects of our life, we don't operate that way. So why would we think that a big technology project would be any different?" 

In this episode, Bob Howland lays down your keys to success as a Chief Digital Officer. For his most recent success, Dawn Foods, Bob sketched out his ideal eCommerce architecture - which was a "composable commerce" stack before that term even existed - and built it in just 22 weeks (which was ahead of time & on budget). This is a massive enterprise transformation - Dawn Foods is a 4,000 people company, and prior to Bob, they had zero eCommerce infrastructure or expertise. Less than 6 months to a fully self-service eCommerce experience from scratch? Yup. And it doesn't stop there. Listen to find out Bob's top 5 lessons for CDOs.


  • 0:11 Intro & Dawn Foods story
  • 2:08 Lesson 1: How to buy technology
  • 5:13 Why Bob allocated more dev hours to post-launch than pre-launch
  • 5:55 Taking internal opinions with a grain of salt
  • 7:23 Handling the quality, cost, time, triangle
  • 8:20 How Dawn Foods collects customer data (Voice of Customer)
  • 9:30 Lesson 2: How to allocate your time
  • 11:15 "But we're doing just fine" - pushing for change when you're already market leader
  • 12:25 Lesson 3: How Bob gains credibility in the first 30 days in any company (30 doughnuts in 60 days)
  • 14:56 Lesson 4: The importance of "disproof" 
  • 16:44 How to avoid offending people when you point out what needs to change - and get them to help you instead
  • 20:53 Lesson 5: How (and why) to play the long game when it comes to transformation

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