14 November 2012

The rise of the Chief Digital Officer

The digital revolution keeps accelerating, and shows no sign of slowing down. Staying abreast of the trend, business consulting firms have developed opinions on how digital is fundamentally changing business. At a recent conference, Gartner predicted that by 2015, about a quarter of all organizations will have created a new seat at the senior executive table: the Chief Digital Officer. But what does this new leadership role bring to the boardroom?

In a blogpost, Irving Wladawsky-Berger compared the Chief Digital Officer with the well-known role of Chief Information Officer and concluded that the role, scope, and activities of the traditional CIO are somewhat outdated.

“(…) when I started reading about the Chief Digital Officer concept, I realized that my framework for the evolving role of the CIO is way too complicated and perhaps somewhat backward looking. There is perhaps an implicit assumption in my analysis that you can continue to be a company’s overall CIO while focusing primarily on managing its IT infrastructure and computer systems, something that I increasingly believe is not the case.

In essence, the Chief Digital Officer is the senior executive responsible for supporting the organization transition into the 21st century digital economy and digital society.

But, as the top information technology experts in the company, they should also work closely with all other senior executives to help them DESIGN (we like this one! -editor), build and support their increasingly complex products and services.”

To get a more in-depth job description of this new leadership role, just read “The Rise of the Chief Digital Officer” by international executive search and assessment firm Russell Reynolds Associates.

The job hunt for the best CDO is on.

Related resources

The emergence of chief digital officers” (MIT Sloan Management Review, April 2013)

Digital strategy (22)