CIO Development

Blog Chief Digital Officer Development

Chief Digital Officer development has come a long way in a short time. Just two years ago I met my first ever Chief Digital Officer search consultant. She was from a marketing background and was generally contracted by CMOs. When I asked her what kind of corporate technology background her short-listed candidates had to exhibit she seemed perplexed. I asked: “You do speak to corporate technology people don’t you?” and she answered: “Why would I want to do that?”

So here is a conundrum. The term “digital” is short for “digital technology” but all modern technology is digital and has been for decades so digital technology is better described by its core of the SMAC technologies (social, mobile, analytics, consumerisation and cloud). We can argue that social, mobile, analytics and consumerisation are the domain of the marketing department. But not so cloud, cloud is what we formerly called computing, or data centres. And though the technology skills and personnel for managing traditional data centres are fast disappearing from corporate IT, not so the disciplines, experience and nous required to manage suppliers, security, delivery and stakeholders.

Chief Digital Officer Development – CIO Development

And what is “digital transformation” promising or threatening to do to our major organisations? “Customer-centricity” is the by-word; our corporations re-imagined with the customer at the centre of all our thinking, supported by a lean and minimum viable organisation structure, agile and smart enough to compete with our born on the web counterparts from Silicon Valley. How many CMOs realise that this is the end-game do you think? How many of them want to be accountable for it?

Like it or not large corporations are too invested and too dependent upon traditional information technology to risk mismanaging its transformation. Like it or not the Chief Digital Officer is going to need to be educated and have capabilities in much more than the SMACC technologies and agile methods. The destiny of the CDO, or CTO, or CIO or whatever new name we dream up is going to be directing and influencing at the heart of corporate transformation. Few technology leaders have ever been able to achieve this, Chief Digital Officer development is going to have to deliver supplier quality technology products and services capability, business school level business strategy and organisational transformation, together with deep empathy for user and customer experience. These are the Chief Digital Officers commanding the £500K benefits packages we are starting to hear about.

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