Is it time for your business to hire a CDO?

As digital technologies play an increasingly significant part in company functions, boards can struggle to keep up with implementing innovations in their own business.

This is where a chief digital officer (CDO) can be a huge advantage, as they have the skills to lead companies along the right technological path. 

The rise of the CDO

While this particular position was unheard of last decade, businesses are starting to adopt CDOs within their strategic apex. According to research from the CDO Club, the number of chief digital officers has risen from just one in 2005 to 488 in 2013. 

Australia is leading the way in this trend, with the second-highest number of CDOs per capita, only slightly behind Finland. In terms of industry, the advertising sector is the most likely place to find this position, with 36 per cent of firms currently employing a CDO. Companies in the publishing and media industries have also been quick to adopt a CDO into their board structure.

Not matter that industry a company operates in, a CDO has the potential to bring a unique skill set and perspective to the table. 

Extending the scope

In order to keep pace with innovations and technological change, the responsibilities of a CDO have extended into the wider business strategy. McKinsey and Company recently explained how the role is evolving in a September article. 

CDOs must help drive changes across the entire organisation. With many departments struggling to understand the possible applications of technology, a CDO can be vital in leading campaigns to familiarise employees with innovations and applications like productivity software.

As well as internal staff, a CDO also needs to be aware of how clients and customers can derive value from product offerings. This involves exploring various channels and utilising technology to thoroughly analyse consumer needs. From this data, departments across the company can make more informed decisions.

Where can you find a new CDO? 

As stated in a report by Grant Thornton, individuals in the position of CDO are often unique from other board members. They are amongst some of the youngest professionals in the top level of management and have a wide network of individuals who can bring value to the company. 

A good CDO will certainly have a strong grasp of technology and its potential application, however an understanding of people and their behaviour is also important. Setting up a comprehensive skills matrix will help top management identify where current shortages lie and what knowledge is needed to advance growth. 

To select the right candidate in a timely manner, recruitment software can be useful in selecting and managing potential CDOs. As more businesses start to see the benefits of this position, securing talent as quickly as possible will be key in maintaining a competitive edge. 

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