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Can CIOs act as the CDOs for organizations today? Or do companies really need a separate CDO who can partner with the business and IT to drive digital transformation?”

First, worth clarifying if we are talking Chief DIGITAL or Chief DATA Officer. In either case, while I used to think that the existence of the CDO meant that the CIO was failing at their jobs, in  today's world, I think the roles are distinctly different, though in the end it really depends on the people.  CDOs as digital officers are really focused on the digital transformation of their companies, and inherently have an external focus.  CDOs as data officers are focused on key information management within the company - optimizing data as an asset.  The CIO at many companies predominantly focused on internal operations, business and user productivity. The skillsets needed and more importantly, the incentives for these objectives are often different.  Intertwining them is possible, but I think in many cases companies are better served by having a separate focus.   All of that is dependent on whom we are talking about both in terms of people and the business.  The people matter even more in this question than anything.  A company with a super strong CIO working for a digitally minded CEO probably doesn't benefit from a CDO nearly as much as an internally focused CIO working in a business with complex operations that has also recently decided to transform the delivery of their products to include more digital delivery would.   So in the end, I think it really depends.

Anonymous Author
First, worth clarifying if we are talking Chief DIGITAL or Chief DATA Officer. In either case, while I used to think that the existence of the CDO meant that the CIO was failing at their jobs, in  today's world, I think the roles are distinctly different, though in the end it really depends on the people.  CDOs as digital officers are really focused on the digital transformation of their companies, and inherently have an external focus.  CDOs as data officers are focused on key information management within the company - optimizing data as an asset.  The CIO at many companies predominantly focused on internal operations, business and user productivity. The skillsets needed and more importantly, the incentives for these objectives are often different.  Intertwining them is possible, but I think in many cases companies are better served by having a separate focus.   All of that is dependent on whom we are talking about both in terms of people and the business.  The people matter even more in this question than anything.  A company with a super strong CIO working for a digitally minded CEO probably doesn't benefit from a CDO nearly as much as an internally focused CIO working in a business with complex operations that has also recently decided to transform the delivery of their products to include more digital delivery would.   So in the end, I think it really depends.
10 upvotes
Anonymous Author
It really depends on the size of the organization, and how crucial data/IT is to it.   For a firm of under 500 employees, I can’t see it having these two separate roles. But some companies of even 100 employees, especially in the financial services sector, dealing with very risky IT environments, may indeed need these roles filled by 2 separate people.
6 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Short answer: if the CIO is not able to drive digital transformation, fire him/her!
5 upvotes
Anonymous Author
The Chief Data Officer is appointed to Bridge the gap between data and decision-making. For businesses to become data-driven, they need to empower this new CDO to ensure quality information that can be used and monetize to drive value for the organization and the customers.
4 upvotes
Anonymous Author
CIOs can effectively act as a CDO if they have the skillset
3 upvotes
Anonymous Author
For a big organization, it makes sense to have distinct roles for each of CIO and CDO. That way, it can be more efficient and yield better results.
3 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Size of the Org certainly is the biggest factor for this. Smaller Orgs can and do make their tech people wear multiple hats. That said, it is certainly a slightly different skillset needed and wearing too many hats leads to faster burnout for the employee and more mistakes to fix for the Org.
3 upvotes
Anonymous Author
The two IT leadership positions Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Chief Digital Officer (CDO) sound similar, but they actually have very different responsibilities.  To compound matters, there is a third executive role with the same initials as the Chief Data Officer: the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). This role also has different responsibilities from the other two mentioned above. Let’s take a closer look at what each title means and how each role differs. //CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER (CIO) RESPONSIBILITIES// A Chief Information Officer (CIO) is typically responsible for the overall IT strategy and implementation of an organization’s technology infrastructure. Here is a quick summary of the types of tasks CIOs are responsible for: Designing IT strategies and digital-first business strategies Supervising the procurement of new IT tools and technologies IT service management In short, CIOs are often the highest-level IT leaders in a business. Many other IT leaders, including CDOs, report to the CIO who, in turn, reports to the CEO and the board. //CHIEF DATA OFFICER (CDO) RESPONSIBILITIES// Chief Data Officers (CDOs) are increasingly being asked to provide data-driven insights and recommendations to help improve the business.  With the rise of Big Data, CDOs can help make the most of enterprise data, analytics, AI, and related technologies to both predict and respond to risks and opportunities.  A few of their tasks include: Designing a company’s data strategy and aligning that strategy with the organization’s objectives Implementing and maintaining data-related IT systems Optimizing the organization’s use of data Leading initiatives related to data It’s important that organizations understand that the CDO role is still fairly new and evolving. Not every organization will need a CDO, and other departments might still be responsible for certain types of data. //CHIEF DIGITAL OFFICER (CDO) RESPONSIBILITIES // The Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is another IT leadership role that focuses on digitization – that is, translating analog business processes into digital ones. Examples of digitization can include the use of digital records instead of physical ones or the use of online conferencing instead of conferencing on the telephone. This role became quite popular, with nearly one in five large firms employing a Chief Digital Officer, according to PwC. However, other research suggests that this role may be in decline and that many Chief Digital Officers had a difficult time accomplishing their main objective: digital transformation. A key problem, according to one officer quoted by the World Economic Forum, had to do with the attitudes of the hiring organization: “It’s less about digital than transformation. And transformation is not welcome anywhere because it’s a big change. Nobody wants to change because you are changing ways of working, behaviors, sometimes territories. The fear is a very important component of our role. People fear change.” This last point, the fear of change, highlights the disconnect between the “dream” of digital transformation and the realities that come with organizational change. Namely, change does deliver benefits, but the road to transformation takes work and it can be frightening. In short, as the author of the aforementioned article put it:  “CDOs do not fail because they are unqualified, unmotivated or incompetent. They fail because they are set up to fail.” Despite the lackluster performance of this position, digital transformation is here to stay – under the leadership of other executives, such as the CIO. //CIO vs. CDO: Roles in Digital Transformation// Many organizations, as mentioned, have hired Chief Digital Officers to help their companies transition to new digital-first operating models.  Yet rather than hiring a new position to lead digital transformation efforts, many are turning to their own CIOs for help. For instance, according to research firms such as Gartner, among others, CIOs are responsible for: Designing and leading digital transformation initiatives Investing in emerging technology Creating digital innovation hubs in the organization Educating other executives on the value of digital technology Cultivating a digital-first culture In short, CIOs are extending their responsibilities beyond IT service management (ITSM) to include business strategy and business transformation. Since they are already part of an organization’s hierarchy, they are often in a better position to lead digital transformation efforts.  Also, as the de facto IT leaders within the company, the Chief Data Officers will usually report to them. While CDOs may not be directing digital transformation efforts, they are still crucial – and as big data, AI, and analytics become more prevalent, the CDO’s role will become even more important. //Key Takeaways// In the past, CIOs were responsible solely for IT service management, but that is changing as the modern organization evolves.  While the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) has led digitization in many organizations, there are signs that the CIO is taking the helm in this regard. CIOs, as a result, are often responsible for designing and leading digital transformation efforts, with support from other IT leaders. Chief Data Officers, for instance, have become more necessary as data-driven technology becomes more and more common. In the years ahead, we can expect both CIOs and CDOs to take a more prominent role in digital transformation leadership. - #NileshRoy
3 upvotes
Anonymous Author
I think this really depends on the person sitting within the roles and whether they can handle both the more traditional aspects along with the growth mindset that the CDO typically requires. Also the organisational size and appetite to have these roles separate from each other is another consideration.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
size drives the need
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
It would really depend on scale, if your in a startup that's bootstrapped, you need to wear multiple hats. But as you grow and if the scale increases significantly then it would make much more sense to do so
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
This can not be generalized as most of the startups are small companies and these decisions are not very important from them. Also they may not have multiple positions for it. For a big company this is the best option that they should do.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
With a CIO who also acts as digital leader, is that all technology, both the predictable IT and the explorative and innovative IT, is in one hand. Enterprises can also decide to appoint a CDO to lead the digital transformation. This new position creates the opportunity to attract new leadership from outside, with the experience and skills that are needed for the job.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
A mid-sized to  large company needs both a CIO and a CDO, these are both strategic positions to help the organization achieve it strategic golds and meets it objectives.  About 15 years ago I did an audit on access controls.  A big finding was access to sensitive data (servers all over the country district offices)  was not adequately controlled and anyone who has network access can access sensitive data on these servers. It was a very controversial finding because the CIO rightfully pushed the finding to the business who owns the data. The CIO said I can only do what the business asked, and rightly said that this is a business issue (you can imagine how big a mess this became). Short end of the story, the company created an SVP position for a CDO to ensure that data is classified and ownership assigned. It took the company over three years to complete the project.  I left in 2006, but from what I heard, the finding  was well worth it. the  company was able to put controls in place over data and can  better manage their data lifecycle.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Every organization is different, but if your CIO lacks the skills to plan, execute,  or even to recognize the need for digital transformation; you need a new CIO.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
I believe the CIO is a bit archaic as a title. The roles and needs have shifted. Yes, a CDO is necessary. Yes, a Chief Digital officer is necessary. Yes a Chief Risk Officer is necessary. There may be an IT executive, I just don’t see the title CIO accurately describing that role. I also see traditionally business roles with an IT requirement, such as supply chain going forward.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
i think for organisations who have a lot of legacy need to workout a plan for adopting new form of Digital and work closely with business to priorotize agenda. To me CIO is more a Technology driven role and he will definitely find CDO of great help to push right agenda across business. Both can help each other to expediate enterprise Digital Agenda.
2 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Traditionally, data management and governance have functions assigned to CIOs. But as organizations embark on digital transformation of how business is done data needs have changed. Many organizations were not getting the competitive advantage or maximum outcomes from data management processes despite having the CIO responsible for data management. The Chief Data Officer position has emerged as part of an organization’s digital transformation work and a way to allow an organization to focus on fostering a data-driven orientation to business strategy. CIOs continue to have distinct responsibilities such as leading IT operations, driving technology strategy and implementing procedures for technology use. The CDO role allows a singular focus on data quality and governance. As a result, many organizations are separating the two roles. While the CDO and CIO roles can be different, both are focused on demonstrating the value of data and looking for better ways to analyze data. However, the trend to separate the CDO role from the CIO role will likely continue as organizations continue to look for ways to better monetize data.
1 upvotes
Anonymous Author
If D is for Digital in CDO I believe the CIO should act as a Chief Digital Officer if they have the necessary business acumen, (e.g. operations) industry knowledge and skill set to be effective collaborators and business partners. In that role the CIO would be able to separate digital enablers (technology) from outcome driven transformative business models needed to create successful digital business.
1 upvotes
Anonymous Author
As the CIO role continues to expand and becoming public-facing and being part of the board comes with additional responsibilities. That is where I see the CDO (Digital) role come in place. In my opinion, when and if the CDO role is needed, it should be reporting to the CIO to take up digital initiatives to transform traditional organizations.
1 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Generally speaking a CDO is what a good CIO should be covering. Often the companies that have found they need a CDO don’t have the right CIO in place.
1 upvotes
Anonymous Author
With the correct knowledge and training this is something that can be achieved and would be the perfect option for a smaller business that either cannot afford the additional cost or that does not want a more complicated organisational structure.
1 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Depends on the vertical, data, applications...don’t think it is that binary.
0 upvotes
Anonymous Author
Although scenario now demands a greater degree of digital transformation, the biggest reason for existence of 2 posts woul be the size of organization, and the need for two separate roles as per their future roadmap. I have believed that CIO and CDO should be one and same and though, things have changed a lot, I still think that for most organizations, it should still be one person only.
0 upvotes
Anonymous Author
For most organizations that's a reality where CIO acts as CDO. Its still fairly rare that you see that there is a CDO within an organization and if there's one I have seen that they actually report to CIO and not other C-level folks. I'm still not 100% sure on what are the exact benefits of having CDO if your CIO is doing a good job because they will address most of the challenges that CDO role calls for.
0 upvotes