How should I think about the CDO role and its overlap with the CIO / CTO role?

13.5k views2 Upvotes9 Comments

VP / Director of Information Technology in Services (non-Government), Self-employed
The separation here is very easy. The CIO is still very much accountable for all that happens in the organization, The new role of the chief digital officer is supporting the organization by facilitating the change of analog data into digital data. This is adding a new and much needed process for some organizations. Once the process is in place and becomes part of the IT routine maintenance tasks. Like it is with ITIL 3, the CDO becomes the SME /process owner. The CIO still needs to see the big picture and the digital data while a big part of the future is not the whole. I hope this helps.
Director of Information Technology in Education, 201 - 500 employees
How can you separate what the Chief Digital Officer is responsible for? At the end of the day, are you acknowledging a medium, or content? Will they be responsible for the content or the medium? If it's the medium, then what does it include? What areas will that current responsibility come from, and why? Is this an over site role, or a message role? What problem will creating this role solve? Is creating this role a response to a situation or a true need? Is creating this role a reaction to a problem or a symptom?

I'm concerned that instead of evolving existing roles to reflect changes in business, we are creating roles as a reaction to changes, because individuals in existing roles are not comfortable with those changes, or what those changes require. I would wonder if someone removed from the situation has done an analysis on the true needs that aren't being met, or aren't being met adequately. Would a change to an existing role, or a change in personnel address the issue better?

It really boils down to a simple question - what problem are they trying to solve and why can't it be solved with the current structure?
Global IT On Demand Director, 201 - 500 employees
Typically this role is utilized for cities, governments, educational institutions or extremely large organizations. If this is you than I believe it's a smart move.
Global Product Lead Cyber Security, 10,001+ employees
While the CIO has responsibility over the entire ICT domain, the CDO is targeted at enabling true digital transformation (versus IT as a support vehicle of traditional back office).1) Map digital capabilities to strategic priorities.2) Digital Process Innovation 3) Manage digital project portfolio 4) Drive / own digital transformation The CTO is the individual who will define the HOW from a technology and architecture perspective.

Gartner pushed the concept of ‘bi-modal IT’ a couple of years back. The idea was that IT requires a fast lane in order to enable / accelerate digital transformation. Looking at the scope of MODE2 gives a good idea about the role of a CDO...( simply google Bimodal IT)
CIO, Self-employed
CDO should own the e-commerce and mobile environments, initiatives and underlying technology. The technology should be in line with CTO and CIO strategy and governance.
CIO GOVERNMENT OF JAMAICA in Software, Self-employed
I am actually not on the side of creating so many C level terms in the Information Technology area. This trend dilutes the meaning of the standard CIO role we have come to understand over the last two decades. This trend to Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Digital Officer, etc., etc. is what I call dilution of the role of the executive who heads the IT portfolio. We past, present and future CIOs should not be supportive of this trend.
VP of Product Management, 10,001+ employees
A chief digital officer role can be seen as someone who is driving digital led change in the organization business processes. One of the best way to look into CDO role is someone who is catalyzing change, bringing new digital levers to implement the change and pass this back to BAU teams under CIOs to run this environment.
Former Chief Technology and People Officer in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
My opinion is that it's all just titles. They really are the same job. I hear about a lot of chief digital officers and the people that I know that are in those roles are super impressive. I do, however, think there is an element that organizations have taken from the corporate IT world. The role usually has little responsibility for delivering revenue and services. To be honest, I have been in big debates about whether this role should be in marketing even. It's kind of fascinating how it bounces around. In the end it's just really important work that needs to get done.
Chief Security Officer in Software, 10,001+ employees
I agree with Julie, the CDO role is a sub-discipline within the office of the CTO or CIO depending on who has responsibility for your technology organization. The role is there to transform the business to a digital first business, which is typically code for cloud or completely modernizing their code and technology stack.

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