The Rise of Chief Digital Officers
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Posted by: Christine Leja, CDP/CCP, CEO of Le Com Enterprises
Digital Officers (CDOs) are being hired by large organizations to implement
effective services using all appropriate digital technology.
The CDO is to insert digital technology
solutions using the resources of the organization as quickly and effectively as
The perception is that digital
technology will give large corporations a competitive edge if done in a very
How did the
CDO position emerge?
What are the CDO
responsibilities and why are large corporations seeking CDOs to innovate, transform,
and deliver digital technology solutions for their organizations?
Why aren't CIOs leading the way to delivering
ROI for large corporations?
Are there no
functioning partnerships between Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and Chief
Information Officers (CIOs)?
questions about the CDO!
let's look at some common identified responsibilities of the CDO:
Keep pace with technology changes and consumer behavior
- Integrate digital technology strategies into business strategies
- Ensure effective use of digital technologies such as web, mobile, social, local, and global trends
- Drive change across the organization
- Meet customer needs for fresh information and the ability to buy wherever, whenever and however they want
these responsibilities in the CIO and CMO positions?
CMOs market an organization's products and
In a cohesive marketing
strategy, the information and materials prepared by marketing are used up, down
and across the organization in addition to the outward reach to customers,
existing and potential.
CMOs manage the
whole marketing process from vision through customer delivery.
the IT services and IT deliveries using IT solutions that ensure IT logistics
are premier for the organization's products, services, customers (including
prospects), and employees.
of premier IT service delivery, efficiency improvement, application delivery,
performance improvement, business performance improvement, and market
performance are included.
With the CIO
at the executive (CXO) table, the IT strategy services functional business
areas in alignment with the organization's mission, vision, and overarching
strategy and tactics.
So, why the
need for the CDO?
If CIOs are
at the CXO table and involving the CXO lines of business, then the CIOs are
anticipating and prototyping the next generation of IT tactics.
But, if the CIO is viewed merely as a cost
center and not as a revenue producer, then the CIO position has been limited as
a service provider to lines of business.
Given a narrow definition of the CIO position, large corporations have
no choice but to consider a CDO since, unfortunately, the organizations have
limited the consideration of the effective use of IT.
But the large corporations who have
anticipated business needs and view IT as a strategic asset have CIOs who
encompass CDO responsibilities at the CXO table and these CIOs are equipped to
rapidly respond to competitive opportunities.
organizations that have a proactive CIO, CMO and other CXOs that regularly
communicate across all levels of need (strategic vision, tactical vision,
resource constraints, priorities, etc.), this is a forward thinking
organization that can effectively use IT in the digital technology world and may
not need the services of a dedicated CDO.
have a life cycle that permeates the organization with CXOs being astute to
pick up on applicable ideas and share them with their peers.
Informal and formal communications among
peers can vet ideas and build salient points for broader CXO discussions.
Here is where the transformational components
Here is where CXO
partnerships on concepts and ideas grow and evolve to a potential strategy or
Here is where the
CMO and CIO partnership can catapult an organization into the effective use of
Is a CDO Equal to
a Set of Common CMO and CIO Responsibilities?”
for more in-depth information on the
CMO and CIO partnership.)
way to bring forward a transformational product or service than with CXO
technology is moving at a rapid pace and organizations must keep momentum or
lose opportunities to keep or obtain customers for their products and
The life cycle of new digital
technology is very short.
So swift is
the digital technology movement that organizations cannot keep pace with the
shift from traditional market processes to include digital technology.
Already, there are firms operating in the
digital world without any physical locations – Amazon comes to mind along with
Netflix and a host of others.
and other organizations MUST keep pace with the digital transformation that is
impacting traditional business practices!
responsibilities exist whether it is a separate CDO role or part of the CMO and
The important point is that
the CXOs recognize the strategic asset they have in IT, see the immediate need for
IT tactics, and appropriately assign resources to accomplish the projects to
deliver digital technology as a viable operational component.