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Evolving Roles in the C-Suite
The C-suite is changing. Here’s how technology leadership roles have evolved to meet new responsibilities.
November 9, 2022
4 Min Read
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If you ask someone what they want to be when they grow up, it’s more an exercise of imagination than prediction when you consider that 65% of children going into elementary school today will work in jobs that do not yet exist. Why? The workforce is quickly transforming as technology evolves and societal needs change. Companies within the last few years had to quickly adopt and implement new technologies to digitize their processes as the world shut down due to the pandemic. Now, organizations are reassessing the structures they put in place and identifying what worked, what didn’t and where to go next.
As a result, technology leadership roles have evolved significantly within the last three years to bridge the gap between idea and strategy with implementation and execution. Though various new titles surfaced, chief product and technological officers, chief data officers and chief transformational officers have emerged as frontrunners.
Chief Product and Technological Officer
Product and technology C-suite roles are traditionally siloed, only coming together to discuss budgets and high-level company strategy. But the current market is competitive and demands innovation at regular intervals.
For tech vendors, data, product, and customers are the main pillars of focus. As a result, many companies, including mine, have introduced a chief product and technological officer (CPTO) to their leadership bench to target each foundational element of the business. Us CPTOs are responsible for marrying product innovation and technology, which benefits the organization by empowering employees with more exposure and visibility into the customer’s needs.
The CPTO works with their team to understand how customers use, perceive, and experience a product. Therefore, they can focus on developing a tech stack that fixates on what the customer values and how they engage with the solution.
Chief Data Officer
Another relatively new title is the chief data officer (CDO), which first appeared in the early 2000s, then took off in the last few years. According to a recent PwC study, almost half of all CDOs at current companies have been appointed since 2019 as digital transformation became a top priority with a growing digital workforce. With new digital solutions comes more data than previously imaginable for most businesses. Therefore, CDOs must use the data to guide business decisions while simultaneously establishing airtight data security policies.
Data protection and integrity go hand in hand and can make or break an organization today, but it’s even more consequential for government and healthcare organizations. For this reason, CDOs are exceptionally important for these sectors. Still, other industries should look to healthcare and public sector data leaders as they continue to establish blueprints for data security and transformation strategy.
Chief Transformation Officer
As businesses drive farther along the road to digital transformation, they rely more heavily on innovation, technology, and skill sets, which is where the chief transformation officer comes into play. Around 2010, the role was born to spearhead the implementation of digital technologies and bring critical transformation to an organization.
Transformation and innovation propel industries forward - most visibly in the manufacturing space. We’re in the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) and witnessing the Internet of Things (IoT) and automation revamp manufacturing as we know it. Chief transformational officers help align technologies and create an environment suitable for innovation and experimentation as manufacturers advance insights, health, safety, and productivity on factory floors.
Working for the Future
Technology, products, strategy, and customer experience are more intertwined than ever as disruptive solutions digitize and connect every industry. Leadership roles must continue to advance to keep up with the pace of innovation, changing customer needs and an unusual economic landscape.
So, which technology executives top the list? It depends on the industry. Chief product and technological officers guide tech vendors to create customer-centric, cutting-edge products. Contrarily, chief transformational officers are leading manufacturers through Industry 4.0, and chief data officers empower government and healthcare organizations to keep sensitive data under wraps. However, all these leaders are vital ingredients to keeping their companies stay at the forefront of innovation in 2022 and beyond.
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