A study from the University of Gothenburg finds that 80% of CIOs (Chief Information Officers) claim that digitalization is their responsibility, while only 20% of CEOs think it is theirs. This perhaps isn’t that strange: CIOs want to grow their department and strengthen their position, and in many cases, persons today titled CIO want to change their title to CDO – Chief Digitalization Officer.
In my opinion, a company needs both CIO and CDO, because, in many respects, these roles are significantly different.
For a CIO, the operation and management of IT systems is the main area of responsibility. This also includes development, but the development is mainly in the form of maintaining and evolving IT systems.
CDO is a role that focuses on a company’s strategic development. It is not so much about understanding technology, as it is about understanding what the company’s future business model should look like, how the company should communicate with its customers, and how it can streamline its internal processes. A CDO must have a deep technical understanding of what is possible today, and tomorrow, but do not need to know which digital components to use. It is more important for a CDO to understand how society develops and what trends exist within the own industry.
Can a CIO become a CDO? Sure, if they have the right personal qualities. However, often, there are probably very different personalities behind a CIO and a CDO role. Don’t make the mistake to replace the CIO with a CDO; make sure that you have both roles in your organization.
An experienced CIO and a visionary CDO can make a perfect team that, together with support from the rest of the management team, can make the digitalization process something that will have an immense positive impact on the company for a long time.
Mountain Guide expert at IoT and Digitalization