Into the Future with Chief Digital Officers
Designating a C-level executive to lead the digital transformation may help make the difference between success and failure.
Organizations that embrace digital transformation will have advantages in the future -- as long as they've managed their evolutions properly. Having a chief digital officer (CDO) isn't a guarantee of success, but it may help make all the difference.
A CDO helps drive growth by overseeing the conversion from the traditional to the modern, replacing analog with digital technologies. A CDO might oversee and govern operations while anticipating or keeping pace in the rapidly changing digital sectors like social media; mobile applications; virtual goods such as games; digital goods such as books, movies, and music); Web-based information management, and marketing.
CDO responsibilities and authority, defined at the board level and by the legal department or advisors, will vary company to company. CDOs need to be digital experts, as they'll be responsible for the adoption of digital technologies across an organization, as well as experienced managers. The CDO is responsible not just for digital consumer experiences across all of the organizations touch points, but also for the whole process of digital transformation.
Observe, Monitor, React
The CDO's job description includes devising and implementing social strategies that expand brand loyalty and advocacy on social networks by:
- Understanding and determining influencers
- Locating where influencers reside, internally and externally
- Providing influencers with tools that drive the message and brand across the digital community
- Observing and monitoring the digital community, and engaging in bi-directional dialog with the customers and users
Not only must the CDO deal with technological solutions, but also keep up with the changing patterns of the digital community. This means increasing the use of emerging resources while reducing the dependence on declining resources. New social networks emerge and others add or change their offerings. Data centers, applications, and networks will have to respond relatively rapidly to ensure continued success.
Digital transformation can produce stimuli for organizational success and growth. CDOs need to identify the digital drivers and maximize those that are under the company's control. This is a long-term strategy, not a set of tactical initiatives.
For more on CDO functions and responsibilities, read "The Rise of the Chief Digital Officer," by executive advisory and recruiting firm Russell Reynolds Associates, and " 'Transformer in chief': The new chief digital officer," by global business consulting firm McKinsey & Company.