CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™

CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ is the global leading educational certification for Chief Digital Officers (CDiOs) across industry and governments. The CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ global executive program is aimed at the present and next generation of Chief Digital Officers working for dynamic global companies and Governmental agencies who need to broaden their horizons in the field and dimensions of Digital Management, Execution and Delivery. CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ is a trademark of C-Suite Institute™ in the USA and internationally and fully protected under International Trademark and Copyrights Treaties and Laws among nations

Registration, Payment & Schedule of Classes

STEP 1: Download and complete your CDO-C Application and C-Suite Institute’s Affidavit of Identity forms and email by the given deadline below to:







Calendar & Schedule Of Classes (MIDDLE-EAST):

Dates: 19 – 23 MAY 2019

Starts: 8.00 AM  Ends: 3.00 PM (Local Time in KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait) | Online & Interactive with Live Instructor |

Starts: 8.00 AM  Ends: 3.00 PM (Local Time in DOHA, Qatar ) | Online & Interactive with Live Instructor |

Starts: 8.00 AM  Ends: 3.00 PM (Local Time in RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) | Online & Interactive with Live Instructor |

Starts: 9.00 AM  Ends: 4.00 PM (Local Time in MUSCAT, Oman) | Online & Interactive with Live Instructor |

Starts: 9.00 AM  Ends: 4.00 PM (Local Time in DUBAI, UAE) | Online & Interactive with Live Instructor |

PRICE: $9,999 (USD) per Participant




Calendar & Schedule Of Classes (NORTH AMERICA):

Dates: 20 – 24 MAY 2019 | Starts: 9.00AM  Ends: 4.00PM (Eastern Standard Time in USA, Canada, Mexico) | Online with Live Instructor |

PRICE: $9,999 (USD) per Participant




Calendar & Schedule Of Classes (ASIA):

Dates: 27 – 31 MAY 2019 | Starts: 9.00 AM  Ends: 4.00 PM (Local Time in Shanghai, Beijing, CHINA) | Online & Interactive with Live Instructor |

Starts: 9.00 AM  Ends: 4.00 PM (Local Time in Singapore City, SINGAPORE) | Online & Interactive with Live Instructor |

PRICE: $9,999 (USD) per Participant




Calendar & Schedule Of Classes (EUROPE):

Dates: 3 – 7 JUNE 2019 | Starts: 7.00 AM  Ends: 3.00 PM (Local Time in Berlin, Germany | Online & Interactive with Live Instructor |

Starts: 7.00 AM  Ends: 3.00 PM (Local Time in Berlin, Germany) | Online & Interactive with Live Instructor |

PRICE: $9,999 (USD) per Participant




CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ is a trademark of C-Suite Institute™ in the USA and internationally and fully protected under International Trademark and Copyrights Treaties and Laws among nations

Introduction & Objectives


The CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ program is a 5 day unique and cutting edge executive management program for Chief Digital Officers (CDOs); Executives, Leaders and Senior Managers who work across the commercial sectors, industry and Government, and are eager to achieve successful results across their organizations.

The CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ global executive program is aimed at the present and next generation of Chief Digital Officers, Technology Executives, Digital Directors, Digital Leaders, Senior Digital Managers, Business Leads, Senior Managers, Scientists, Digital Project Managers, and Digital Managers working for dynamic global companies and Governmental agencies who need to broaden their horizons in the field and dimensions of Digital Management, Execution and Delivery.


  1. All C-Suite Institute™ Executive education program modules utilize case studies to reinforce teaching, evoke independent analysis and research; and provoke deep thought and critical thinking among participants
  2. C-Suite Institute™’s curriculum is Global Based & has International Perspective – Applicable across all major continents (Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, Americas)
  3. Applied & Practical Insights related to your industry and C-suite/Executive functions
  4. Renowned Faculty – Our Professors hold Advanced/Graduate/Post Graduate Degrees, and have worked in or currently work in Executive level positions
  5. Diverse Participant Mix from all geographies across the Globe
  6. Participants work across the top 50 Industries (Industries range from Aerospace to Information Technology (IT) to Finance & Banking to Oil & Gas to Energy to Utilities and numerous more)
  7. Participants attend from Fortune 500 & Global 2000 companies; Governments (local, state, Federal, National) from around the world; and International organizations and firms such as UN, World Bank, IMF, NASA, ICAO and numerous more
  8. Participants attend from Major World Governments in G-8, G20 & BRICS countries
  9. Participants attend from Major sports organizations such as FIFA and UEFA


CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ is a trademark of C-Suite Institute™ in the USA and internationally and fully protected under International Trademark and Copyrights Treaties and Laws among nations


Role of Chief Digital Officers

The Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is now a “transformer in chief,” charged with coordinating and managing comprehensive changes that address everything from updating how a company works to building out entirely new businesses. A CDO needs to bring a bold vision which could include starting new businesses, acquiring technologies, or investing in innovations. The CDO implements digital initiatives that enable strategic innovation and business transformation.

McKinsey – read more

A Chief Digital Officer (CDO) must take care of digital innovation both externally – in the companies’ interactions with customers, partners, suppliers, and internally – collecting and analyzing data, improving efficiency through the use of digital technologies, and transforming organization and culture to enable their companies to compete successfully in the digital age.

PwC – read more

The Chief Digital Officer (CDO) creates a unifying digital vision, energizes the company around digital possibilities, coordinates digital investments, helps to rethink products and processes for the digital age, and sometimes provides critical tools or resources. The CDO also needs to  drive appropriate synergies, build a clean technology platform, and foster innovation.

MIT – read more

Featured Chief Digital Officers

Lubomira Rochet

Lubomira Rochet

Chief Digital Officer

Sean Cornwell

Sean Cornwell

Chief Digital Officer

Jürgen Michelberger

Jürgen Michelberger

Chief Digital Officer

Kevin Bandy

Kevin Bandy

Chief Digital Officer

Adam Brotman

Adam Brotman

Chief Digital Officer

Daniel Heaf

Daniel Heaf

Chief Digital Officer

Atif Rafiq

Atif Rafiq

Chief Digital Officer

Jonathan Becher

Jonathan Becher

Chief Digital Officer

Ganesh Bell

Ganesh Bell

Chief Digital Officer
GE Power & Water

Ian Rogers

Ian Rogers

Chief Digital Officer
Louis Vuitton

Andrew Brem

Andrew Brem

Chief Digital Officer

David Godsman

David Godsman

Chief Digital Officer
The Coca-Cola Company



Admission is very selective and based on your professional level, achievement and organizational responsibility. No formal educational requirements apply, however most applicants have completed studies at the Bachelors or Masters or Doctorate levels and have backgrounds in Business, Engineering, Management, Finance, Computer Science, Human Resources, Information Management, Information Technology, Economics, Applied Sciences


CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ is a trademark of C-Suite Institute™ in the USA and internationally and fully protected under International Trademark and Copyrights Treaties and Laws among nations



The CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ credential certification consists of 4 modules delivered over 5 days


 (a) Executive Leadership, (b) Executive Strategy & Policy, (c) Executive Decision Making, (d) Executive Oversight, (e) Executive Transparency (f) Executive Accountability, (g) Executive Planning & Execution, (h) Executive Accounting, Finance & Budgeting, (i) Executive Project Management & Project Control Strategy & Planning, (j) Executive Problem Solving


(a) Leading & Managing People, (b) Leading & Managing Change, (c) Leading & Managing Goals & Priorities, (d) Leading & Managing Communications, (e) Leading & Managing Culture & Cultural Dynamics, (f) Leading & Managing Negotiations (g) Leading & Managing Organizational Politics (h) Leading & Managing Innovation & Technology (i) Leading & Managing Customers & Suppliers (j) Leading & Managing Competitive Advantage, (k) Leading & Managing Risks & Uncertainty (l) Leading & Managing Quality (j) Leading & Managing Crisis (m) Leading & Managing Conflicts (n) Managing & Controlling Waste, Fraud, Abuse, Neglect & Negligence (o) Implementing Management Controls & Use of Efficient and Effective Control Processes (p) Leading & Managing Claims & Disputes (q) Developing, Training, & Retaining Talent & High Performance teams


Advanced Digital Topics covered will include but not limited:

  1. Digital Media and Convergence
  2. Digital Sounds and Images – Emerging Trends and the Future
  3. Digitization and Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Robotics
  4. Digitization in Words and Pictures
  5. Big Data
  6. Digital Disruption
  7. Digital Transformation
  8. Digital Strategy and Strategy Maps
  9. Digital Communications
  10. Mass Media: Business
  11. Mass Media: Democratic Expression
  12. Digitization and Social Media


All CDO-C™s will complete the following:

  • Develop ‘My CDO-C Strategy & Organizational Execution Scorecard™’
  • Develop ‘My CDO-C Strategy & Organizational Execution Action Plan™’
  • Develop ‘My CDO-C Strategy & OrganizationalExecution Play Book™’
  • Develop ‘My CDO-C Policy™’

To fulfill the CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ credential certification requirements, all participants must attend and complete all Modules 1, 2, 3 & 4 over five days.

There are no examinations given.

The CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ program is given in the English language only


CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ is a trademark of C-Suite Institute™ in the USA and internationally and fully protected under International Trademark and Copyrights Treaties and Laws among nations

Participant Mix

PAST PARTICIPANTS: The CDO-C™ executive certification program has been strategically designed for executives who manage the total Digital delivery and execution at senior functional levels of the organization:  senior management and Executive levels.

Past participants have included:

·         CEOs

.         CDiOs

·         COOs

·         CFOs

·         CIOs

·         CTOs

·         VP of Finance

·         Senior Finance Managers

·         Senior Operations Managers

·         Senior Financial Analysts

·         Corporate strategists

·         Program Managers

·         Systems Engineers

·         Senior Project managers

·         Experienced individual contributors and staff professionals

·         Other key members of Executive Financial Management leadership and management departments



CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ is a trademark of C-Suite Institute™ in the USA and internationally and fully protected under International Trademark and Copyrights Treaties and Laws among nations



(1) Have Graduate Degrees and Master Of Science (MS) Degrees in Finance, Economics, Project Management or MS Degree in Engineering (Electrical, Civil, Computer, Mechanical, Aeronautical, Software), Or Computer Science Or Technology Management or Information Technology Or Information Systems Or Master of Business Administration (MBA); or Phd or DSc in related field
(2) Have Over Fifteen Years of Executive Management Experience in Industry Or Government Or Both;
(3) Have Taught or Teach In Graduate Degree Programs In Accredited Universities in the USA and abroad


CDO-C™ Chief Digital Officer – Certified™ is a trademark of C-Suite Institute™ in the USA and internationally and fully protected under International Trademark and Copyrights Treaties and Laws among nations

Chief digital officer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
chief digital officer (CDO) or a chief digital information officer (CDIO) is an individual who helps a company, a government organization or a city drive growth by converting traditional “analog” businesses to digitalones using the potential of modern online technologies and data (i.e., digital transformation ), and at times oversees operations in the rapidly changing digital sectors like mobile applicationssocial media and related applications, virtual goods, as well as “wild” web-based information management and marketing.[1]


The responsibilities of an organization’s CDO are varied and still evolving as the future of a CIO for digital businesses.[2] The CDO is not only a digital expert,[3] but may also be a seasoned general manager. As the role frequently is transformational, CDOs generally are responsible for the adoption of digital technologies across a business.[4] As with most senior executive titles, the responsibilities are set by the organization’s board of directors or other authority, depending on the organization’s legal structure. The CDO is responsible not just for digital consumer experiences across all business touch points, but also for the whole process of digital transformation.[5][6]


According to a study by Gartner, a predicted 25% of businesses will have created and filled the Chief Digital Officer title by 2015.[7]

Organizational Structure[edit]

More and more, CDOs are being given seats on their company’s board of directors and are often just a seat or two away from being the CEO.[8] The UK is leading the adoption of board roles : for example Mayank Prakash[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chief Digital Officer’ is the next hot executive title, says Gartner”. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  2. ^ “What Does A CDO Do Anyway?”. Retrieved 2011-03-15.
  3. ^ The Chief Digital Officer Handbook. Buckingham. ASIN 1502811022.
  4. ^ “Why CIOs May Morph Into the Chief Digital Officer”. Retrieved 2012-11-18.
  5. ^ “Digital: transforms modern businesses and delivers a global 360 degree vision”.
  6. ^ “Digital Transformation”.
  7. ^ “Gartner: Do you have a Chief Digital Officer? You’re gonna need one”. Retrieved 2012-10-22.
  8. ^ “New jobs as Chief Digital Officers emerging”. Retrieved 2012-07-31.

Digital content

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Binary code represents text or computer processor instructions that create digital content.

Digital content is any content that exists in the form of digital data. Also known as digital media, digital content is stored on digital or analog storage in specific formats. Forms of digital content include information that is digitally broadcaststreamed, or contained in computer files. Viewed narrowly, digital content includes popular media types, while a broader approach considers any type of digital information (e. g. digitally updated weather forecastsGPS maps, and so on) as digital content.

Digital content has increased as more households have accessed the Internet. Increased access has made it easier for people to receive their news and watch TV online, challenging the popularity of traditional platforms. Increased access to the Internet has also led to the mass publication of digital content through individuals in the form of eBooksblog posts, and even Facebook posts.[1][2]


At the beginning of the Digital Revolutioncomputers facilitated the discovery, retrieval, and creation of new information in every field of human knowledge. As information became increasingly more accessible, the Digital Revolution also facilitated the creation of digital content.[3] Despite an evolution to digital technology, which occurred somewhere between the late 1950s and 1970s, distribution of digital content did not begin until the late 1990s with the rise in popularity of the Internet.[4][5]

In the past, digital content was primarily distributed through computers and the Internet, yet methods of distribution are rapidly changing as the Digital Revolution brings new channels, such as mobile apps and eBooks. These new technologies will create challenges for content creators, as they determine the best channel to bring content to their consumers.

Despite the benefits, new technologies have created new intellectual property issues. Users can easily share, modify, and redistribute content outside of the creator’s control. While new technologies have made digital content available to large audiences, managing copyright and limiting content movement will continue to be an issue that digital content creators face in the future.

Types of digital content[edit]

Examples include:[6][7][8][9][10]

  • Video – Types of video content include home videos, music videos, TV shows, and movies. Many of these can be viewed on websites such as YouTubeHuluCBS, and so on, in which people and companies alike can post content. However, many movies and television shows are not available for free legally, but rather can be purchased from sites such as iTunes and Amazon.
  • Audio – Music is the most common form of audio. Spotify has emerged as a popular way for people to listen to music either over the Internet or from their computer desktop. Digital content in the form of music is also available through Pandora and, both of which allow listeners to listen to music online for no charge.[11]
  • Images – Photo and image sharing is another example of digital content. Popular sites used for this type of digital content includes Imgur, where people share self-created pictures, Flickr, where people share their photo albums, and DeviantArt, where people share their artwork. Popular apps that are used for images include Instagram and Snapchat.


In order to have access to more premium digital goods, consumers usually have to pay an upfront charge for digital content, or a subscription based fee.

  • Video – Many licensed videos, such as movies and television shows, require money in order to be viewed or downloaded. Popular services used by many include streaming giant Netflix and Amazon’s streaming service, as well as recent notice put forth by the online video platform YouTube.[citation needed]
  • Audio – While songs can be streamed for free, generally in order to download most licensed music, consumers need to purchase songs from web stores, such as the popular iTunes. However, Spotify Premium is emerging as a new model for purchasing digital content on the web: consumers pay a monthly fee to unlimited streaming and downloading from Spotify’s music library.

According to a report done by IHS Inc. in 2013, the global consumer spending on digital content grew to over $57 billion in 2013, which was up almost 30% from $44 billion in 2012. In past years, the US has always been a leader in consumer expenditure on digital content, but as of 2013, many countries have emerged with great consumer expenditure. South Korea’s overall digital spend per capita is now greater than the US.[12]

Non-purchasable digital content[edit]

Not all digital content is purchasable, and is simply anything published digitally. This would include:[13]

  • News – in recent years newspapers have attempted to expand their readership by creating access to their newspapers digitally. As of 2012, 39% of readers learned about news from online formats, making news a prevalent form of digital content.[14]
  • Advertisements – as media consumers increasingly use digital formats to watch TV, check the weather, and search for content, advertisements have shifted to digital forms to keep up with their viewership. Advertisements are now being made digitally and placed on sites ranging from Facebook to YouTube.[15]
  • Question and Answer sites – these sites are a type of Internet forum where people can post questions they want answered, or provide responses to previous inquiries. With millions of questions posted each day, anyone has the ability to create content on these sites, so the information provided may not be 100% reliable or accurate. Popular sites include Yahoo! AnswersWikiAnswers and Quora.
  • Web mapping – sites such as MapQuest and Google Maps provide users with map content. These sites give people the ability to quickly look up the location of a landmark and create routes to a destination. Online maps are a form of free content provided by companies such as Google and AOL, serving as much more efficient alternatives to the traditional Thomas Guide.

Business implications[edit]

Digital companies[edit]

Digital content businesses can include news, information, and entertainment distributed over the Internet and consumed digitally by both consumers and businesses. Based off revenue, the leading digital businesses are ranked GoogleChina MobileBloombergReed Elsevier, and Apple. The 50 companies with the highest revenue are split between those offering free and paid digital content, but these top 50 companies combined generate revenue of $150 billion.[16]

Educational Opportunities Programs such as CUNY‘s Macaulay Honors College in their New Media Lab run by industry professional Robert Small is set up to train and introduce students to the various disciplines within the digital content industry. The goal is to offer information and access to professional work opportunities. They also explore within an incubator how to create businesses and start ups within the world of digital content. There are many educational events in support of choosing digital content as a career.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eileen, Mullan. “What is Digital Content?”. EContent. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  2. ^ “Digital Content Demand Rising as More Americans Use Mobile Media Devices”. Brafton. Retrieved March 5, 2014.
  3. ^ Manning, Patrick. “Digital World History: An Agenda”. University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  4. ^ digitaldownloader. “The History of Digital Distribution”. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  5. ^ Allen-Robertson, James. “Timeline: The History of Digital Distribution”. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  6. ^ “Types of Consumer Generated Digital Content”. Boundless. 1 May 2013.
  7. ^ Mullan, Eileen (19 December 2011). “What is Digital Content?”EContent Magazine. Information Today Inc.
  8. ^ Manning, Patrick. “Digital World History: An Agenda”. University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved February 22, 2014.
  9. ^ Villasenor, John (1 May 2013). “Six ‘Megatrends’ That Will Shape The Future Of Digital Media”. Forbes Magazine.
  10. ^ “Types of Consumer Generated Digital Content”. Boundless. 1 May 2013.
  11. ^ “Types of Consumer Generated Digital Content”. Boundless. 1 May 2013.
  12. ^ Russo, Amanda. “Global Digital Content Spend Rockets to $57 Billion in 2013, App Annie & IHS 2013 Digital Content Report”. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  13. ^ “Content Wikibranding -The 76 Types of Digital Content”. Wikibrands. 1 May 2013.
  14. ^ “Digital: As Mobile Grows Rapidly, the Pressures on News Intensify”. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  15. ^ “The growth of digital advertising and branded content is gaining pace”. The Guardian. Retrieved 18 March 2014.
  16. ^ “Free or Paid Content? The 50 Most Successful Digital Companies in the World”. Fuel Lines. 12 March 2013.

The Rise and Role of the Chief Digital Officer

Chief digital officer

To have or have not? Do companies really need to appoint a CDO – a Chief Digital Officer – to drive digital innovation and transformation across their businesses? Or does it make more sense to integrate this responsibility into the roles of existing C-suite leaders – i.e. the Chief Information Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Data Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and the other functional heads? Alternatively, wouldn’t the task of developing new digital capabilities be better suited to another recently formed role in some companies – that of the Chief Marketing Technology Officer – one that’s explicitly focused on harnessing emerging digital technologies to improve customer-facing processes and activities?

Opinions are still split on this issue. And, clearly, what works for one kind of company or industry might not be the best solution for another. Also, let’s not forget that some organizations were “born digital” – a term Gartner uses to describe “a generation of organizations founded after 1995, whose operating models and capabilities are based on exploiting internet-era information and digital technologies as a core competency” – while most firms came of age in the industrial era when more traditional business models were dominant.

The new tech champions might be said to have digital mastery embedded in their DNA, while many older companies are faced with the formidable challenge of rethinking and recalibrating their old-line business models to adapt to today’s very different digital economy. The former certainly don’t need a specific role in the organization dedicated to developing digital capabilities, because these technologies and capabilities are already fundamental to what they do. But for the latter group it might be argued that such a dedicated leadership role is imperative for their successful digital transformation and ultimately their survival. This would explain the exponential rise in the number of Chief Digital Officers appointed worldwide over the last decade.

The Digital Wave is here

It is estimated that back in 2008 there were probably no more than about a dozen CDOs worldwide. By 2010, that number had quadrupled, which still only took it to around 50 executives globally. Fast forward to 2015, and the number of CDOs was already well over 2,000. And since 2015, the digital wave has continued its exponential rise. In 2017, a study by Strategy& (PWC), found that approximately 19% of top global companies now have a CDO, 60% of whom were hired since 2015.

The rise in Europe, Middle East and Africa has been higher than in the rest of the world. Around 38% of leading businesses operating in European, Middle Eastern and African (EMEA) countries have opened a position for a Chief Digital Officer in their organization chart. Second on the list is North America, where roughly 23% of the top organizations have appointed a CDO.

When we move beyond regions to focus on specific countries, France leads the pack in Europe with around 62% of the companies surveyed having a CDO position, followed by Germany at 39%, and Great Britain at 35%. In Asia-Pacific, it’s Australia out in front with around 40% of the major businesses in the country having a CDO, followed by India at 20%.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, it is consumer-facing industries such as financial services, communications, media and entertainment, consumer goods, and retail that lead the way in terms of appointing a Chief Digital Officer. Among the companies included in the survey, 35% of the insurance companies, 28% of the media/entertainment/communications companies, and 27% of both banking and consumer products/retail companies have appointed a CDO in some capacity. Next come food and pharmaceuticals companies, at 23% and 19% respectively, followed by the automotive industry at 15%. At the other end of the scale are classical industrial companies that serve B2B markets – industries like manufacturing, utilities, mining, or oil and gas, where the numbers drop to 13%, 12%, 5%, and 3% respectively.

What exactly is a Chief Digital Officer?

Essentially, it’s a C-level executive whose main role is to drive growth and strategic renewal by transforming an organization’s traditional analog businesses into digital ones, with a special focus on creating new value through the smart use of digital tools, platforms, technologies, services, and processes.

What’s the difference, then, between a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and the more familiar role of Chief Information Officer (CIO)? Simply put, while the CIO has traditionally overseen a company’s IT infrastructure with a view to improving operational efficiency, the CDO is more concerned with implementing digital initiatives that enable strategic innovation and business transformation.

Let’s compare the two roles in more detail:

Chief Information officer vs Chief digital officer

In broad terms, the traditional CIO could be said to be a manager of continuity while the CDO is a manager of change. Companies know they need to balance continuity of the current business on the one hand with rapid technological change and deep strategic renewal on the other, which is why the two separate leadership roles now exist. Then again, a large number of CIOs are trying to bridge the gap between the two, blurring both roles and making the position of CDO obsolete.

Time will tell if this is a better way of doing things. CIOs certainly need to transition into a more modern role in the organization, for one reason because a rising percentage of a company’s tech spending, which is now at a 10-year high across all industries, is now managed outside of the traditional IT function. But in my experience, few executives are ambidextrous enough to excel at both ends of the business spectrum. Inevitably, CIO’s tend to find themselves focused inward at the company’s existing business operations, while a CDO’s eyeballs are looking outward at issues like customer loyalty, brand experience, future strategy, and the creation of new business models and revenue streams. It’s very tough to manage these two opposite perspectives at the same time, and it also requires different mindsets, skills, and expertise.

This helps explains why, according to a recent survey of nearly 4,000 IT leaders across 84 countries (conducted by Harvey Nash and KPMG), “many CIOs admit they are struggling to introduce an effective digital strategy across their organizations.” By contrast, “half of organizations with a dedicated CDO and over 40% of organizations with an acting CDO reported having a clear enterprise digital strategy, compared with only 21% without a CDO.” More importantly, “these companies were more likely to be redesigning their company’s business processes to take advantage of digital technology than those with CIOs alone.” At companies that have chosen for the two distinct roles of CIO and CDO, both executives can work together to drive digital progress inside, outside, and across the organization. Based on the above survey, concludes that “The most successful companies employ both CIOs and Chief Digital Officers (CDOs) who work in tandem to take advantage of innovative technology.”

Who should the CDO report to?

The answer might seem obvious when we consider how important digital technology is for this position. Indeed, in many of the companies that have introduced this role over the last few years, the CDO reports to the CIO or CTO. But some have found that this structure doesn’t work well in practice. After struggling through a couple of years of tension caused by the addition of a CDO to their organization chart, one global engineering company decided to flip the reporting lines. Where the CDO initially reported to the CIO, today it’s the other way around. The CIO reports to the Chief Digital Officer, who in turns reports directly to the CEO. In fact, the company has since gone on to appoint digital officers in all of its business units, too, who report jointly to the business unit leaders and the CDO, and who are helping to embed digital innovation and transformation as a deep, companywide capability across the organization.

In a larger number of companies, and particularly in customer-facing industries, the CDO started out as an extension to the traditional marketing function, answering to the CMO, and responsible primarily for new digital activities such as social media, mobile apps, and the digital customer experience. Statistically, in fact, around two-thirds of today’s CDOs still reside within the company’s marketing function, while only about one-third report to the CIO or CTO. In my opinion, both of these constellations are sub-optimal, and I would tend to give the CDO a superior rank on the organization chart, at least on the same level as the CIO, CTO, or CMO, and, where appropriate, perhaps even one level higher.

Who should CDO report to

For years, there has been a flawed assumption in business that digital represents merely an adjunct to what a company has always done – something that, in effect, can be bolted onto the organization (i.e. by adding a digital marketing function, or a new role within IT) rather than baked into every aspect of the enterprise. Today, however, there’s a realization that digital innovation and transformation need to be at the very heart of corporate strategy and operations, perhaps even driving a radical reinvention of the business model itself. As McKinsey likes to put it, “Digital isn’t merely a thing—it’s a new way of doing things.” Thus, in many organizations, the role of the CDO is now evolving and expanding, thankfully taking on wider-reaching and far more strategic dimensions.

As a reflection of this, over 100 CDOs have been promoted to company President or CEO over the last few years. These include Ganesh Bell, President of Uptake, former CDO at GE; Adam Brotman, President of J.Crew, Former CDO at Starbucks Coffee Co.; Wolfgang Blau, President of Condé Nast International, former CDO at the same company; and Jason Goldberger, CEO and President of Blue Nile, former CDO at Target.

I also watched with the utmost curiosity when, in March 2016, Ford set up a dedicated digital subsidiary based in Palo Alto called Ford Smart Mobility, and appointed Jim Hackett, a man I knew personally from his many years as CEO of Steelcase, to serve as Chairman of the new unit. His mandate was to help Ford drive digital innovation and transformation as a means to enable 21st Century mobility, partly in response to the threat from tech giants like Uber Technologies Inc., Alphabet Inc. and others, as they continued to make inroads into the auto business. Just over one year later, Hackett was promoted to President and CEO of Ford Motor Company itself.

Companies like these, that are achieving a high level of digital awareness and maturity, understand the critical importance of the CDO’s role. But in organizations that are still playing digital catchup, CDO’s can sometimes end up stranded between the CIO and the CMO, who themselves may be playing a tug of war based on their own, perhaps conflicting visions, strategies, and priorities – even while their functions and roles should be intersecting. This can make the CDO’s job a political nightmare with little hope of success.

Responsibilities of a Chief Digital Officer

Now that we know what a Chief Digital Officer can bring to the picture, let’s take a look at the specific responsibilities that should be part of the CDO’s role description. Since the position itself is still relatively new and evolving fast, many organizations will need to move beyond a vague, ill-defined, or outdated job description. Here are just some of the key responsibilities many companies now consider for this role:

  • Setting and Implementing Digital Strategy: Develop a clearly-defined and compelling digital strategy for the company’s future and ensure that all relevant digital initiatives are fully integrated into the strategic-planning process for leadership commitment, resource allocation and execution
  • Serving as a Cross-Functional Change Agent: the CDO must be the company’s central leader and integrator in the digital transformation process, serving as an intermediary between all other executives and functions in the rollout of digital initiatives and capabilities, fully integrating business and technology, and closing digital performance gaps that exist in and between the various functions and business units of the organization
  • Driving Digital Innovation: work with teams across the business to generate innovative digital solutions for products, services, processes, customer experiences, marketing channels, and business models. The CDO should own and centrally monitor the digital innovation project portfolio, while deployment of the individual projects may rest with other executives and teams
  • Measuring ROI on Digital Projects: Digital innovation and transformation initiatives should create value by, for example, improving customer engagement and loyalty, driving new revenues, or achieving new efficiencies. Since these results are measurable, the CDO should monitor and report on the ROI outcomes of digital projects and investments – linked to enterprise KPIs – with the goal of demonstrating the positive impact from these initiatives
  • Expanding the Digital Innovation Ecosystem: Build, manage and continue to grow an internal and external digital innovation ecosystem, tapping into competencies across and beyond the organization (in an external partner network) to apply digital technologies to the business
  • Developing Digital Talent: The demand for digital innovation and transformation is currently outstripping the supply of qualified talent in the market and inside organizations. The CDO must therefore work closely with HR to attract and retain top talent, and to build digital capabilities across the company

The Need for Digital Leadership

First and foremost, the CDO’s job is to be a digital leader, someone who is capable of successfully driving the transformation effort across the whole enterprise on a multi-year journey to digital excellence. That’s a lot to expect from any individual, but it also represents perhaps today’s most exciting and important corporate role, as companies face up to the new strategic challenges and business imperatives of the digital economy. Without creating this critical leadership role, appointing someone qualified to fill it, and supporting the chosen executive from the very top of the organization, how else can companies hope to make the transformational journey to a fully digital future?

If you are in a position of digital leadership yourself, why not join me in China at our next exclusive 3-day TLN masterclass in association with Alibaba Group, called “Leading Digital Transformation”. You’ll gain insights into exactly how Alibaba is pushing the frontiers of digital technology across their entire ecosystem, and you’ll learn how to apply these lessons in practical ways inside your own organization to drive digital innovation and transformation. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to network with other executives like yourself who are pushing the digital agenda forward inside some of the world’s top companies. Together, you’ll discover the secrets of success that can help you hone your skills as a digital leader and gain better traction in your efforts to make digital transformation happen across your company.

Alibaba Masterclass