Curated Content

What’s a great Chief Digital Officer? And do you need one?


By Mads-Jakob Vad Kristensen

Well a great Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is not necessarily a brilliant Chief Information Officer (CIO) already on staff as some clever people would suggest. Why? Because it takes more than insight into technology matters to transform or build an organization into becoming inherently digital.

It takes a great understanding of processes and ways that different changes in digital culture can help move the desired changes along. It’s fluffy puffy stuff and far from technical but applied in the right way the results can be stellar.

It takes a great understanding of people. Both of what makes the organizations own people tick in the way that they want to work and get most creative and/or productive for the company but also and especially of the customers digital habits, dreams, needs and wants. Stuff which again is not very technical but where technology certainly is the tool to make it happen.

Compare a great digital vision and game plan to building a house. You need an architect to draw up the plans and make sure that the vision of the end result is crystal clear and doable. You would never ask the carpenter or the mason to do that part of the work although they are the ones who will actually be building the house.

The second – and great question – is whether you need a CDO at all?

Maybe not forever but for the transition period you will. Because while making the transformation and establishing a new digital culture, you will need someone with his or her hands firmly on the wheel guiding you through the challenged waters ahead. Once the transformation is done and you’re in calm seas, you may consider whether you want to apply a different model, but until then you should give the matter the attention it deserves due to the size and complexity of the task. Everything else is – IMHO – madness.

(Photo: Deborah Austin)

First published on Tumblr here.

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