The Demand for Chief Web Officers is High and Growing
At one point Web Project Management led to a Web Director position and rarely further up the corporate ladder. That has changed. Chief Web Officers (CWO) are now in big demand. So much so that search firms are having a hard time finding talent to fill their openings.
What is the Best Training Ground for CWOs?
Web Project Management is one of the jobs to put you on track to be a successful CWO Web Project Management. It is a logical career path to Web Director and that position prepares you for the requirements of the Chief Web Officer job.
Why Do Directors of Web Operations Make Great CWOs?
Russell Reynolds Association, an Executive Search Firm lists the following 5 key competencies CWOs need to possess to be successful. (http://www.russellreynolds.com/content/leadership-and-talent-rise-of-chief-digital-officer-CDO) These five competencies match well with the skills Web Project Managers develop and include:
1. Web Strategy - Web Director are often responsible for Web strategy and even if an organization has a Web strategist, the Web Projects Director works closely with the strategist to craft and implement the strategy. The Web Director must therefore understand the strategy, create an implementation plan, know which analytic measures provide the best information and how to interpret that information in order to judge whether that strategy is successful and how to fine tune the strategy.
2. Management skills - One of the biggest tests of a Web Director is their ability to get people to work together who have very different skills and approaches to problem solving. Programmers and graphic designers, marketing and outside vendors, detailed money experts and big picture thinkers. If you do not possess superior management skills, you will not be a successful Web Director. If you cannot keep all stakeholders and influencers working together toward the same goal your projects will be delivered late and go over budget.
3. Online marketing and social media knowledge - In today's world, content creation and management is key to the success of a Web project and the key to content management is utilizing content marketing to distribute your message and determine the effectiveness of that message. Today's Web Director spends a great deal of time making sure that the content management plan is an integration of social media, eNewsletters, downloadable articles, guest blogs, videos, etc. An online marketer may put together the plan, but they often possess a micro view while the Web Director must master the big picture integration.
4. Ability to work across the organization and be as comfortable communicating with global customers as they are dealing with local and distributed staff, press and vendors. Web Directors deal with everyone throughout the organization from the Finance Office to the Facilities Department. Web Directors must often get people in other departments to work on a project even though 1) the outside staff has a full time job to do that doesn't have anything to do with the website and 2) the other employees report to someone else. They must work with outside vendors who are often scattered across the world. That requires great communication and motivational skills.
5. Vision and leadership - The Web is constantly changing. The technology is changing. The ways people use Websites are changing. The ways we access Websites is changing. Even the way a Website is created is constantly changing. To be a successful Web Director, you must be comfortable with change, anticipate it and be able to form a vision of how to take advantage of that change for your organization. Then you must be able to articulate that vision to those in your organization and get them to embrace your vision. That is leadership - a key requirement for Chief Web Officers.
Web Project Management is a Great Background for a Chief Web Officer
An organization's Website is the most critical means of interacting with potential customers, current customers, stockholders, employees, vendors, the press and even, competitors. The organization's image is affected by the usability of the site as well as the messaging and graphic appeal.
By virtue of their position, the Web Director has been apprenticing for this type of responsibility required of CWOs for years. Web Directors know the responsibilitites of everyone in the company. They have dealt with all the vendors. They know the technical, marketing, organizational, financial and competitive strategies of the company.They therefore have the perfect background to move to the next level (and right up to CEO.)
A door just opened in the executive ranks for Web Directors and because of their experience as Web Project Managers they are ready and well prepared to execute the responsibilities of the CWO.
If you are a new Web Project Manager - set your sights high.
If you are a current Web Director, polish up that resume. The call to move up may come sooner than you anticipated.