How can you be a Chief Digital Officer?

Author: Nader Aboul Mouna - Lead Delivery Consultant

 

There are many ways to define a Chief Digital Officer (CDO); different enterprises have different roles and responsibilities of their brand new CDO’s. Whether specialists in brand new business models, new business unit’s configuration, or adoption of digital technologies, All CDOs’ purpose revolve around the same growth pivot; transformation.

The current existing challenge are the roles and the responsibilities of CDO’s, as they might be shadowed; common knowledge perceives the “digital role” is performed by already existing and well established B-Level Managers, such as a Chief Marketing Officer and/ or a Chief Information Officer. However, transformation within the enterprise has different traits and stages of maturity, until it reaches a certain level of automation. Hence, the role of a CDO varies among enterprises as stages of maturity vary between different companies, markets, and industries; and this is the main challenge faced by enterprises and their respective CDO’s.

In the Digital Enterprise, agility is key, as no single strategy will guarantee success; companies must adapt and respond quickly to digital pressures and constantly changing requirements. Similarly, when addressing roles and responsibilities for your transformation engines, in this case a Chief Digital Officer, agility is required. Even though the concept of agility is known to be groundbreaking by all means, it does not mean that a CDO should have constantly changing job description list adaptive to transformation requirements; its even more revolutionary, as you don’t need a CDO at all. The Chief Digital Officer today’s Digital Enterprise is imperative, as companies will most likely fail to transform without one, however, the CDO is an assumed role, rather than a position.

The Chief Digital Officer role is not well defined yet, hence the confusion around it. Enterprises are able to validate the reason for not needing a CDO position, however the role of a CDO should be assumed by one or different stakeholders within the organization structure of the digital enterprise, as the only way forward is to transform, and the CDO role makes it possible. Whether the role is assumed by a Chief Information Officer, the Chief Marketing Officer, or the Head of Operations, the key activities to be performed are the following:

Digital at the center of everything

Digital should be brought at the center of the organization, to accelerate transformation towards the target digital economy pioneer enterprise. Done are the days where digital strategies are need; instead, digital should be integrated in all aspects of the business.

Environment Responsive

Responsiveness as part of Agility is required, not only being aware and up to date with current trends, competitors, and growth opportunities, but also re-shaping and re-creating  value offered by an enterprise, due to the significant digital changes in the competing market place.

Digital Experience Champion

Digital Experience capabilities of the CDO go beyond customer journey mapping and building a digital brand. Improving Customer Experience should be performed as a means for growth within the enterprise.

Data Driven Agility

Embracing effective and fast data management is key to secure agility, prioritize and de-prioritize transformation initiatives to suit your acceleration for transformation.

Communication

Part of the CDO role is assessment of a company’s readiness to embark on digital transformation and signaling efforts required to internal and external audiences. In addition, communication is needed for culture transformation as traditional mind-sets need to be challenged and agile mindsets need to be educed.

Closure

Measuring the effectiveness of the CDO role from their transformation strategies and their ideas might not be the best evaluation tool, as decision making and authority might be shared among the CEO and different stakeholders. The CDO role must be measured and evaluated on the ability to get things done and drive accelerated change.

The CDO is not a position, but a role performed by available resources, depending on an enterprise digital maturity and transformation challenges. In order to properly assess your transformation maturity stage and define the CDO role within your organization structure to accelerate transformation, contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Additional Info

  • Services: Digital Strategy
  • Role: CDO (Digital)
  • Industry: All Industries