Is digital too important a responsibility to entrust to one CDO?

More and more organizations are giving digital responsibility to the enterprise IT executives. But before celebration, the CIOs have to see what entails the ‘transformation’ of a company

Is digital too important a responsibility to entrust to one CDO? - CIO&Leader

Digital transformation is mainstream. Even if you ignore the extreme noise and noise makers, the number of businesses pursuing serious transformation leveraging emerging (digital) technologies is significant. They come from different industries and with different sizes—and most importantly, with different histories of technology adoption.

Part of that is understandable. The earlier wave of technology had managed to work only at the process level—usually addressing the ‘services’ components of any business. Today’s technologies are playing at all levels. Specifically, manufacturing companies, who were never so excited about IT—even while going for it—have a different outlook now. Earlier, IT significantly impacted only a fraction of their business; now it impacts far more.

Yet, when you read the cover story in this issue, you may get a feeling that not many organizations are enthused by the idea of appointing a full-time Chief Digital Officer. It can be interpreted in two ways—one, digitalization is still a future task or two; the other, digital is too important to be left to a single executive with digital attached to his/her designation.

The first interpretation contradicts what I started with—digital is becoming mainstream. So, it is most likely the second—digital is too important—is a plausible explanation. I have not mentioned it in the story, because the story is not my opinion. This editorial is. I hope you get the point.

Or is the whole structure being relooked at—and as the transition happens, the going is getting a little slow?

For the CIOs and IT professionals, though, there is good news. More and more organizations are giving digital responsibility to the enterprise IT executives. But before celebration, the CIOs have to see what entails the ‘transformation’ of a company. A manufacturing company deploying digital technologies in the shop floor is digital transformation in right earnest. But in such organizations, the objective of the transformation could just be immediate efficiency gains.

As a CDO, your choice is not to back out—but to take up the challenge to show the top management the value of the next step—the business value accrued through the data collected.

Read the CIO&Leader May 2019 Magazine

Kim Domingo


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