Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is the future of the Chief Digital Officer at risk?

In a recent report by Gartner called "Top Industries Predicts 2014: The Pressure for Fundamental Transformation Continues to Accelerate" [link] it's predicted that nearly two-thirds of government organisations with both a CIO and chief digital officer role will get rid of one or the other. This will eventually happen because of the overlap between the two and further changes across the business.

This announcement may seem a little premature, since the role of Chief Digital Officer is only just taking shape in the minds of some organisations and their boardrooms. To therefore announce it's redundancy before it is fully embraced could be seen as just headline grabbing (or link bait).

However, I agree with this viewpoint. Furthermore I not only believe that the future of the Chief Digital Officer post is at risk, but that it should be seen as an interim position along the path to full digital adoption. In other words... if you're aiming to be a CDO in several years time, you are probably planning for the wrong future.

But let's take a small step back to the present. Where the role of Chief Digital Office is definitely needed by some public and private sector bodies, with others having already hired & found their CDO. This person should neatly sit between the roles of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Information Officer (CIO), to help both on their journey forward to the creation of a vision, where digital benefits are fully utilised & integrated across both teams and further afield.

In some circles the title of CIO amusingly used to stand for "Career Is Over". However it is really the CDO who should not only assume they are out of a job eventually, but should plan for this as part of their wider responsibilities.

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