- Almost 20% of the world’s top 2,500 companies by revenue have appointed a chief digital officer (CDO), according to the results of a new study from Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting business. That’s more than three times the number of companies that reported hiring a CDO in last year’s report. In fact, of those companies, 60% of CDOs were hired within the last two years.
- Technology-oriented leaders now make up 41% of the C-suite, which is 8% higher than those for marketing and sales, according to the study.
- Financial services and consumer-focused companies have the highest ratio of digital leaders. Specifically, insurance companies have 35% digital leaders, and both banking and consumer products companies have 27%, according to the study.
CDOs are often tasked with leading a company’s digital strategy, including figuring out how to make new systems compatible with legacy technology. At times, the hiring of a CDO can cause tension with the CIO role, though companies that can define where each role fits into the hierarchy can help smooth those tensions.
While many see the CDO role as transformational, the CDO isn’t the only one to spearhead digital transformation in the enterprise. Other roles, such as the CEO, can often play an integral part in spearheading transformation.
The CDO role can also mean different things for different companies. Jim Fowler, VP and CIO of General Electric, speaking at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium last month, said he believes the true focus of a CDO should be on building software and analytics products for commercial sale, while the CIO should focus on making the company work more effectively.
No matter how it's is defined, the CDO role growing in the enterprise. CDO jobs have more than doubled since 2014, with searches by job seekers looking for CDO roles also showing very strong growth, according to career site company Indeed. At the same time, CIO jobs decreased by more than 30% in that same timeframe.