Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chief Digital Officer - why your company needs one

There's a nasty jibe in some senior technology circles that the title CIO stands for "career is over". However I disagree and have my own thoughts on this.

The title and role of Chief Information Officer (CIO) is now getting quite long in the tooth, but more importantly the reliance on the word 'Information' here is the issue. These days, the competitive edge within a lot of companies doesn't come from their use of information (processed data), it comes from the migration of systems, processes and roles to an online way of working. The web has not only taken over our personal lives, it has also taken over (or taking over) our business ones too. Software as a service (Saas), Platform as a service (Paas) and Infrastructure as a service (Iaas) ... plus others, are all cloud-based approaches to online computing and each has its benefits and challenges. Now these are all typical subjects that typically would come under the remit of the CIO.

But when you then factor in the need to provide connected digital marketing services (e.g. an email or CRM system), eCommerce transacting functionality (along with the associated online merchandising and sales optimisation expertise) and the complex communication and customer services requirements that the online world needs, the experience and skills of pure technologist start to look less than comprehensive.

But who is actually hiring Chief Digital Officers right now? Nobody that I'm aware of, but maybe in the future we will see this role come to some prominence.

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