Saturday, March 23, 2013

Why the role of CDO is needed

In a posting on eConsultancy this week, Ashley Friedlein provided his thoughts on Why a Chief Digital Officer is a bad idea. This article basically stated that a CDO wasn't needed in the modern board room.

Having written on this blog about the role the Chief Digital Officer should have, I thought I would disagree with Ashley's opinions. However, despite the (obvious linkbait) headline, I found myself partly in agreement with the post.

You see, we are living in a time of tremendous technical change, where digital technology has moved on significantly in just one employee generation. This means that there are still very few career digital people on the boards of major organisations... but this is gradually changing and one day all members of the C-suite will be 'digital natives' and have grown up with online.

Until then, the role of CDO is needed, but as a transformation role.

One alternative approach that might work for some major organisations... is to take on a Digital Non-Exec Director. This would be someone who has the full compliment of online skills, to see the company leaders through this evolutionary period. This would have the benefit of integrating a CDO-type person into the organisation, without the need to restructure the board.
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