CDOs – The Rise of Chief Digital Officers

CDOs – The Rise of Chief Digital Officers published by AITP

The Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) has published Christine Leja’s article on CDOs entitled “The Rise of Chief Digital Officers”.  Will CDOs be a peer of CIOs or will CIOs absorb the CDO responsibilities?  Has digital technology brought IT to the executive table as a strategic asset?

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

Chief Digital Officer Responsibilities

Over the last year or two, Chief Digital Officers (CDO) are entering large organizations and reporting to the CEO to implement effective digital business services using all the appropriate technology to deliver products and services.  It is the responsibility of the CDO to execute digital technology solutions using the resources of the organization as quickly and effectively as possible.  Information Technology (IT) is showing up on the revenue side of an organization’s balance sheet and time-to-market is critical for maximizing profits!

But, what are the CDO responsibilities and why are large corporations seeking CDOs to innovate, transform, and deliver digital technology solutions for their organizations?  What happened to the Chief Information Officer (CIO)?  Why the need for a CDO who seems to be stepping on the responsibilities of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and CIO?  Why is a partnership of CMO and CIO not working?  Can you substitute other CXOs for the CMO and still have a need for CDO responsibilities?

CDO is the new hot executive topic!  Will the CDO have the authority to press timely business needs into CXOs line organizations?  How will competing business needs be resolved between the CXOs and the CDO?  Is the CDO position a long-term leadership role?  And, how will CDOs and CIOs roles be defined in their organization?  Have the CIOs somehow missed a business opportunity?

For more information and some analysis on the emergence of the CDO position, see the CDO report by Christine Leja, CEO of Le Com Enterprises, Inc.

Cloud Services and IT Strategic Plan

CIO of Counsel Services have been provided to the St. Louis Accounting firm, RubinBrown.  Working closely with the Internal Technology Director, Le Com Enterprises, Inc. provided assistance in the formulation of an IT Strategic Plan and guidance on Cloud Services considerations.  Work included preparing a board presentation to approve the IT Strategic Plan.

Rich Bradt, previously Director of Internal Technology at RubinBrown, was pleased with the provided CIO of Counsel Services and comments:

Chris at Le Com Enterprises helped me develop the IT Strategic Plan at RubinBrown, which involved assessing cloud services. She is thorough and able to provide great advice on strategic technology decisions. I highly recommend her services.

ERP Implementation or Upgrade Tip

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Implementation or Upgrade Tip

Here are some ERP questions and recommendations to consider before you begin:
1. How vested are you in pursuing this endeavor?
2. Do you have an executive champion?
3. Are your business subject matter experts and IT staff allocated the time to do this project the right way?
4. Do you have an active executive advisory team that will be available from concept through implementation to handle executive level issues?
5. Have you conducted an assessment of this project that includes:
a. Define concrete outcomes to measure the success of the project
b. Establish the timeline
c. Explicitly identify the team members and their commitment levels
d. Determine corrective action plans should the project timelines slip
e. Define an exit strategy should an event occur that critically impacts the project
6. Do you have an oversight partner that will provide objective insight beginning with the assessment plan and continuing through the project?  (Note: The oversight partner can be an internal executive not involved in the project or an external colleague that can provide guidance on the state of the project at given milestones.)
Have a question or comment?  Send an email to

Chief Digital Officer (CDO)

A new executive position is emerging in the corporate world – Chief Digital Officer (CDO).  This position manages Marketing’s social networking needs in the “digital” world.  Services and statistics are delivered and tracked.

But, the question is:  Why did this position emerge when a partnership of the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and the CIO (Chief Information Officer) could have delivered and managed these services?

Rather than add an executive position, why not have the CMO and CIO partner to become Mark-IT-ing?  Such a partnership will enrich both the marketing and IT staff knowledge and improve their service capability!