Chief Digital Officers play a powerful role, survey finds

Global tech company, Mindtree, has today published the results of an unusual survey that investigated the insights into the impact of the Chief Digital Officer within a firm. The report specifically investigated the opinions of those working under CDOs.

Of the 323 global IT and business professionals asked in the US and UK, there was a mass belief that CDOs present an effective change and positive impact when it comes to digital transformation, despite the stereotype that the CDO position is usually a short lived one.

Just over a quarter of respondents said that the Chief Digital Officer has been successful in championing many business-driving digital initiatives. A further 20% said they feel the CDO is beneficial in creating new business models.

The CDO role has a clear purpose and is gaining in relevance

Despite the idea the CDO’s role could be distributed across C-suite members, the survey found that there is a clear need for the Chief Digital Officer’s position. 74% stated their CDO has clear responsibilities with 81% agreeing that these responsibilities are so big that a specific CDO is needed for the role.

Adding to this, 76% believe that a CDO is needed more as we move towards more digital responsibilities and objectives.

CDOs tend to have more technology expertise than business.

In terms of CDOs having a targeted skill, business and IT leaders believed this to be a deep understanding of technology (61%) and the ability to execute digital strategies (53%). 70% of CDOs are thought to come from an IT background.

Despite the progress, CDOs still face obstacles

32% of those asked named the biggest obstacle that CDOs faced as being a change-resistant culture.

“As enterprises make progress with digital transformation and discover new possibilities to reinvent their businesses, leaders across industries are making long-term investments in organization capabilities and leadership. We’re not surprised that the CDO role is not seen as a limited duration project or initiative leadership role, but much more of a long-term change agent,” said Sreedhar Bhagavatheeswaran, SVP and head of Digital, Mindtree.

“Our conversations with executives shows that it’s a pivotal role for enterprises to fully embrace the potential of digital technologies. With technology change accelerating, the CDO needs to master technologies like cloud and AI and deeply understand the business to be successful. They also need to understand organizational culture and navigate change management expertly to succeed.” Bhagavatheeswaran continued.