Thomas Cook creates "digital advisory board" from external suppliers
Travel organisation Thomas Cook has proudly unveiled a "digital advisory board" to help guide its digital strategy. The board is certainly an impressive collective of minds. The group of people they've managed to pull together will no doubt create a formidable amount of insight for Thomas Cook. If a brand is committed to the outsourcing model and wishes to rely on external suppliers to keep its management team up to date with emerging trends, then an advisory board seems like a good idea.
However the unveiling appears to be somewhat undermined by the second part of the press release which announces the newly established "E-ccommerce Centre of Excellence (ECE), creating a hub of talented individuals to provide strong functional expertise and support for the Group". This is confusing to me. If a brand has chosen to build a centre of excellence internally, what purpose does the advisory board offer? Surely the presence of both equates to an undervalued internal team. If a group of "talented individuals" have been given the task of providing support on digital matters to the organisation, then their insight and knowledge should be industry leading. It should truly be a centre of excellence made up of the best talent/experience available - much like the advisory board.
From my perspective, Thomas Cook's management are saying all the right things about their digital strategy, but not acting accordingly. If they really understood the importance of the web to their business, they would be writing press releases about the newsworthy promotions and hiring of industry heavyweights.