Subscribe to CIO Magazine »

Chief Digital Officers: Friend or Foe for the CIO?

Adjusting to a world gone digital--and to demanding customers gone viral--is very serious business across nearly every industry today. So it's no wonder some CEOs are scooting another chair up to the boardroom table for the new chief digital officer (CDO).

CDO talent searches are surging, and recruiters are scrambling to find hybrid executives who bring this magical mix of marketing, e-commerce, business strategy and revenue-generating skills to the party. Gartner predicts that 25 percent of companies will have CDOs by 2015, but estimates that only 20 percent of CIOs have added digital officer responsibilities to their jobs.

So how big a deal is this? Will the appearance of another trendy chief title (remember chief innovation officers?) knock CIOs out of the top strategy circles at their companies? We'd like to think not, of course. But in reality, the answer depends on how any given CEO views the customer-facing, digital-transformation capabilities of CIOs and their IT organizations.

We explore this latest C-suite challenge in our cover story (" Meet the New Chief in Town: Chief Digital Officers"), by examining the impact of new CDOs on three well-known brands: Best Buy, Starbucks and OfficeMax. Studying these newcomers reveals some fascinating contrasts and a few uncomfortable truths.

At two of the companies--Starbucks and OfficeMax--the CIO and CDO seem to be well aligned and working as a team. But it's a different story at troubled retailer Best Buy, which radically reshuffled its roster of top executives last fall. The new digital chief in town has a rather chilling assessment of what IT's role at Best Buy will be. "Enterprise IT is inward facing. I am responsible for outward," says Scott Durchslag, president of online and global e-commerce. "A future lens is needed," he adds, which not every CIO can provide.

Our story may give you a lot to think about, as it underscores the escalating need for CIOs to focus on external business concerns as much as internal IT excellence.

Also in this issue, we introduce a new column from CIO's Publisher Adam Dennison, who weighs in with some timely thoughts on the evolving nature of the IT-marketing relationship (" Why CMOs Won't Control Your IT Budget"). Dennison will appear every other month in that column spot, sharing it with our CEO Mike Friedenberg. (If you'd like to watch a publisher keel over with happiness, drop him a welcome note and say hey.)

Follow everything from on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

Read more about e-commerce in CIO's E-commerce Drilldown.

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

More about: Facebook, Gartner, Google, OfficeMax, Scott, Starbucks
Comments are now closed.
Related Coverage
Related Whitepapers
Latest Stories
Community Comments
Tags: starbucks, Internet | E-commerce, e-commerce, internet, Chief Digital Officers
Latest Blog Posts
  • The CIO Paradox
    As there are timeless leadership principles underlying IT value, there are unfortunately also timeless challenges that thwart the IT organisations efforts and make for a rocky path to CIO success. These are the inherent contradictions we call the CIO Paradox.
    Learn more »
  • Stop Paying the Earth for Global Roaming
    Why do we continue to pay the earth for global roaming? With Telstra increasing global roaming charges by 100-500% in over 180 countries, bill shock can only get worse. This paper investigates why, what and how your company can address the need for global coverage.
    Learn more »
  • eBook - Flash Buyers Guide
    This paper provides a guide for evaluating and selecting the best all-flash storage for your enterprise class environment. The detailed content covers all product classes and where they can be best applied to your circumstances, as well as what the key elements are for each to avoid potential pitfalls in the selection process.
    Learn more »
All whitepapers
rhs_login_lockGet exclusive access to Invitation only events CIO, reports & analysis.
Latest Jobs
Salary Calculator

Supplied by

View the full Peoplebank ICT Salary & Employment Index

Recent comments