A decade ago, many organizations were only experimenting with small-scale digital projects overseen by the CIO. The rapid digital disruption brought about by companies like Netflix, Amazon and Uber forced many organizations to re-think their approach to achieving digital innovation.
Beginning around 2013, many organizations started appointing a Chief Digital Officer, someone with a hybrid of IT, business and leadership skills to be charged with overseeing the organization’s digital transformation. Adoption of this position grew steadily. A 2019 PwC study1 found that 21 percent of the largest 2,500 public companies in the world had appointed a CDO (or equivalent) to make their organization more digitally competent. The CDO was expected to provide leadership across business silos, changing legacy core systems and help to implement new digital technologies like Blockchain, augmented/virtual reality, artificial intelligence, chatbots, among others.
The CDO position continues to be the focus of widespread speculation and questions. How effective have CDOs been in achieving real change – not only changing their front- and back-end technologies to be more data-driven and customer-centric, but also changing their organization’s culture to adjust to the times? Is creating a dedicated position like the CDO merely a stopgap measure that will soon be replaced by a mix of new approaches, or is it here to stay? Is the CDO’s role clearly defined and differentiated from other C-level roles in the organization, such as the CIO and CMO?
Mindtree sought to provide further clarity about the relevance and staying power of the CDO position by asking those perhaps best equipped to provide an answer: the business and IT leaders and professionals who work under a CDO.