Importance of chief digital officer role in Australia is rising: Report

New report claims CDO appointments are on the rise in Australia, and could be at the expense of the CIO role

The role of chief digital officer (CDO) is set to invade Australian organisations and could well be at the expense of the CIO, a new report claims.

According to CA Technologies’ Digital Enterprise: The role of the CDO study, 47 per cent of Australian business leaders believe the role of the CDO is becoming more important in their business. The report was based on surveys with 100 c-level executives undertaken in August.

Forty-five per cent claim to currently have a CDO, and 14 per cent said they expected the fill the role in the next few years. The report suggests the move is likely to see many of the technology-based roles traditionally held by the CIO being the responsibility of the CDO.

Of those without a CDO, 37 per cent said the effect is a lack of responsiveness and a slower route to market. In addition, 19 per cent highlighted ‘missed business and investment opportunities’ as a consequence of not employing a CDO.

However, the report did suggest there remains conflict around what a CDO’s responsibilities should entail. For example, when asked who they’d turn to for advice on mobile and app development, responses were split between the CIO and CDO.

Respondents were also asked about the rising importance of the CMO and CIO roles in their organisation. Just over 34 per cent said the CIO was essential, while 21.9 per cent the CIO was becoming more important. Seven per cent said CIOs were becoming less important.

With regards to the CMO, 38 per cent said the role’s importance hadn’t changed in the last year, while 28.5 per cent said the role was becoming more important and 20 per cent said it was essential.

Overall, digital was a strategic element of business for 69 per cent of respondents, with customer engagement and increasing market share leading the list of reasons why.

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“It’s clear from this research that if businesses stick with the status quo and don’t prepare themselves for a digital mind-shift now, they’ll fall behind. Worse still, they may lose market share because the services they provide to their customers aren’t being deployed in a fast, engaging way,” commented CA’s Australia and New Zealand managing director, Bill McMurray. “That’s where digital can help.

“As we see CDOs becoming more involved with their business colleagues and in business strategy, the ability to communicate the value of new technologies will become even more important.”

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