I’m often questioned about the emerging chief digital officer “CDO” role. The debate is on as to where the role reports, and how well the CDO is aligned to the CMO and CIO.
The key question to ask though, is not where the role reports, but rather how important digital is to your customer base. I’ve found that every organization will vary in it’s level of digital influence on the company strategy and overall customer engagement. While some industries must move to the digital space rapidly, like retail, consumer packaged goods, and logistics, others are able to pace their migration with the rest of their competitive pack (construction, landscaping, etc).
In today’s “connected” world, digital can play a competitive advantage in any industry. For instance, digital strategies that simply deliver the best search engine results with a pleasing and compelling website can lead to differentiation and business growth.
So, where does the CDO report? Here’s my simple checklist for you to determine.
- Is digital critical to the survival of the company? If yes, report to CEO.
- Is digital critical to the customer experience? if yes, report to the CMO.
- Is digital critical to the supply chain? If yes, report to the CIO.
Regardless of the reporting structure, enabling the organization to adapt and adopt digital strategies must align to the company strategy and the customer experience. It’s the role of the Chief Digital Officer to make sure that digital strategies are aligned to the customer experience and company strategy.