SWIC CIO Comments on CDO Responsibilities

Chris, you talk about IT managing services, deliveries as well as the IT strategy in Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

I agree with this, but successful CIOs are the ones that also accept the responsibility to be proactive in anticipating the needs of critical stakeholders and their evolving expectations in service delivery.  It is providing the CXO with information on what the current IT infrastructure can and cannot support in terms of evolving tactical needs of the CXO’s line of business.  The CIO has already anticipated the next tactical preferences of the Line of Business (LOB), and prototyped some demonstration of next generation IT tactics to support them.

For an organization that has viewed IT as a cost center, or rewards the IT department on the basis of efficiency (call tickets serviced) or effectiveness (IT costs as a percentage of overall costs) probably needed a new CDO to focus on “What technology can do”.

Part of the decision on the need for the CDO is partly based on the historical culture of an organization:

  • Did the CIO have a seat at the strategic planning level?
  • Was IT seen as a cost center or as a strategic asset such as cash flow?
  • What was the reward system for IT?  Was it operational efficiency or ability to anticipate and deliver agile solutions to meet the changing expectations of critical stakeholders?

If the answers to the above questions were “NO”, then the easiest way to establish a cultural change and kick start the organization into fully recognizing and implementing “e-components” or digital solutions is to bring in a new position that has a charge from the chief executive to lead this charge into making the organization “e –competitive”.

For organizations that had a proactive CIO and CMO and other CXO, that regularly communicate across all levels of need (strategic vision, tactical vision, resource constraints, priorities, etc.) may not need the services of a dedicated CDO.

Dr. James Riha

Southwestern Illinois College