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The CIO's 2 New BFFs
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larryloeb
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larryloeb,
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6/5/2014 | 7:17:03 PM
CDO turf
I'm not sure most organizations understnd the need for a CDO. What problems do they see a CDO solving?

Will it be a c-level turf war emerging? CIOs think they own the hardware, and may not welcome a CDO telling them where to point it.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 4:08:21 PM
Re: CDO turf
@larryloeb: Turf war is the traditional way this could play out, though IMHO the smart CIOs will welcome a CDO and/or work to expand their own role to encompass the CDO responsibilities. The way the CDO role typically is playing out right now is similar to what Tanya Cordrey describes, which is essentially almost one of "Digital Evangelist" who looks at how to tie together customer-facing apps and offerings with back-end infrastructure across the business. Some CIOs already are doing this, and those who are still taking a command-and-control view of IT are going to be hurt in the long run.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 4:25:01 PM
Re: CDO turf
@Li Tan: It's party an issue of data velocity/volume and party an issue of business acumen. CIOs would do well to take on the role or appoint someone to their team who can handle the full scope of digital in the enterprise. Where I see the difference is that the CDO role seems to be a business-first role, rather than a tech-first role. Some CIOs also take that POV, though far too many are still head's down in tech, focusing on keeping the lights on and cutting costs. It really comes down to a matter of having the vision to see how technology can truly transform operations, both in terms of customer-facing and interally facing functionality. The two roles can be complementary and make for a powerful team if done right.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/6/2014 | 4:33:53 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: Yup, there are a lot of new "c-level" titles being flung around, as well as the concept of the "CIO Plus" role, which is sort of a catch-all for anything to do with tech and business. Re. the CMO, the language and culture barriers there are hard to overcome, I've seen this firsthand as well. Everybody's got their jargon and perspectives. To some degree, a CDO might be able to be the liaison between those two worlds, or the CIO/CDO/CMO combo could be powerful. That requires people who are open to collaboration and not so married to their own corner of the business that they can't step back and take a wider view. It's almost as if meetings between the CIO and CMO require someone who can act as a simultaneous translator, as in high-level multinational diplomatic meetings. Could a CDO could fit that role?
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
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6/6/2014 | 6:02:50 PM
Re: CDO turf
@snunyc

Gee, I still remain unconvinced that a CDO will have an obvious mission inside the organization. You see these well-known names pop up inside a company now and again, spreading the Digital Message. Except that message is 10 years old. 

Given a post-Snowden internet, someone that figures out how to use carbon paper and multiple forms in a manila envelope is powerful and far less likely to be intercepted by NSA types. Does the CDO tell us when to stop using things digital?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 2:23:52 PM
Re: CDO turf
@larryloeb: Hilarious: Given a post-Snowden internet, someone that figures out how to use carbon paper and multiple forms in a manila envelope is powerful and far less likely to be intercepted by NSA types.

It  makes not an iota of difference whether you or I are convinced that a CDO is needed. What matters is whether CEOs, boards of directors and other corporate braintrusts (or stockholders) decide that this is the position-du-jour that will solve all the comapny's problems. If that happens and they decide to add CDO to the C-suite, then CIOs at large enterprises will be wise to keep an eye on these developments.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
6/13/2014 | 6:21:57 PM
Re: CDO turf
@Susan

You think I'm kidding about carbon paper. When PFChang's got breached this week, they went back to old school credit card imprinter slips done with ink and then batch processed. Made me feel nostalgic, it did.

I'm really not knocking the CDO concept, BTW. Anything that can give the C-level a clue is always welcome. I just think they wont listen much; even to good ideas. Inertia and all.

 

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/17/2014 | 4:51:42 PM
Re: CDO turf
@larryloeb: Truly, I thought you were kidding. I did not see that about PF Chang's moving to the old-school carbon paper credit card processors. They're certainly harder to hack, that's for sure. 

Another option, of course, is for everyone to start paying cash again...

Ya, I get it about the CDO title, seems like companies are a little too eager to call people Chief-This and Chief-That these days, which certainly seems to weaken the power that should be implied by the position. Certainly CIOs have a hard enough time getting their ideas through to the rest of the corporate leadership, so I can appreciate your skepticism that a CDO would have any better luck at it. 
impactnow
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impactnow,
User Rank: Author
6/9/2014 | 1:53:21 PM
Re: CDO turf
 

 Sane I agree the proliferation of C levels often causes role conflict and slow down the progress. For some organizations it might make sense to have a CDO for others a digital specialist that reports to another c level might be better suited. I don't think it's a one size fits all org chart. There is allot to be said for being lean and nimble at the top.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 2:30:59 PM
Re: CDO turf
@jastro: Good stats there, thank you! There are enough CDOs for them to have their own website. We can learn more about their plans for world domination here: http://chiefdigitalofficer.net
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 2:39:27 PM
Re: CDO turf
@Broadway0474: Here's what Gartner had to say on the topic of CDOs, though it doesn't specify whether this refers specifically to Fortune 1000 companies:

Gartner predicts that by 2015, 25 percent of organizations will have a Chief Digital Officer.

"The Chief Digital Officer will prove to be the most exciting strategic role in the decade ahead, and IT leaders have the opportunity to be the leaders who will define it," said David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "The Chief Digital Officer plays in the place where the enterprise meets the customer, where the revenue is generated and the mission accomplished. They're in charge of the digital business strategy. That's a long way from running back office IT, and it's full of opportunity."

Source: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2208015

Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 2:52:15 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: in your experience, who has been responsible for overseeing the external customer-facing experiences? When tech is involved (website, mobile app, etc) does that fall to the CMO or CIO or someone else entirely?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/12/2014 | 2:57:00 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: Pointy haired managers: "Who determines when these positions are needed?"

another question to add here is one of power. All "C"-level positions are not created equal, as any CIO can tell you. CIOs have had to fight to get a "seat at the table" so to speak when it comes to be truly considered an equal member of the C-suite alongside the CFO, COO, etc. To some degree, I think the CMO is in the same boat as the CIO, because they are both considered the heads of cost centers instead of revnue generating sides of the business.

The question for me then becomes: Who would hold more power in the organization that has a CDO. If that CDO does not report to the CIO--would the CDO position have more clout because it is seen as being attached to activities that are customer-facing and therefore potentially revenue-generating?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 2:50:54 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: Based on what you're saying, then, someone who could combine the project management skills and rigor of the CIO with the product-focused, less stringent mentality of the CMO or marketing team could do well in bridging the gap between both worlds. 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/13/2014 | 2:53:37 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: You're lucky to be in a spot where your CFO and COO get along and are both willing to step into the room with you to answer questions. I was in a situation a few years back where I had basically two bosss--I officially reported to one person but with dotted line to another. What they sought from me was often diametrically opposed, and they were rarely willing to sit down together to clear the air and get everything on the same page. 

Oddly enough, learning how to function in that environment ended up giving me some valuable skills though it caused me no small measure of heartburn at the time.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/17/2014 | 4:54:36 PM
Re: CDO turf
@WaqasAtlaf: So perhaps organizations really need a Chief Coordinating Officer. It seems that it's most often in the executiion of projects that things fall apart, good project management is hard to find in any field. why do you think it is that so many organizations struggle so much with execution and implementation?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/17/2014 | 4:56:26 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: power trips and turf wars are probably the two most damaging things I've encountered, they can pretty well undermine any effort in an organization, particularly if the people engaging in them are high enough up the corporate ladder.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
6/24/2014 | 11:26:33 AM
Re: CDO turf
@tjgkg

If C-level positions can inspire and lead the folk that actually do things, they have a useful position in the enterprise. It's obvious enough to be valid.

But if they don't do that, the doers will find a way around them to get things done.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 3:50:24 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: That's exactly the kind of attitude I'd love to see more of in business. Your teams are lucky to have you, and I do hope that you are able to achieve your career goals. In the meantime, perhaps you can provide some executive coaching to others who are in the higher positions and don't grasp -- or have forgotten -- the very basic edict we all have learned from childhood: Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

 
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 3:53:46 PM
Re: Digital Master definition
@kstaron: Based on my understanding of the MIT research, and seeing Westerman discuss the findings at the CIO Symposium, what you describe would not qualify a company as a digital master according to their definitions. The top-down, holistic approach is truly key, I think, in terms of embedding a tech-forward approach into an organization's DNA. It doesn't mean that digital innovation can't bubble up from diffferent busienss or tech unitis within the company. Quite the contrary, in fact, a company that is considered a digital master would have a structure that allows and encourages digital innovation to come from all corners of the organization. The difference is that the senior management embraces and supports this, both culturally and financially.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 3:56:11 PM
Re: CDO turf
@H-H: Ah, such a good question! The best that a person can do, I think, is to try not to take anything personally, understand as best as possible what is motivating all the players, and be honest and forthcoming with all parties. It may end up backfiring on you, but at least you can go home and look yourself in the mirror at night! And, if the political situation in the organization is truly  toxic, I would suggest finding another place to work if at all possible.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 3:59:06 PM
Re: CDO turf
@WaqasAtlaf: lack of persistence is spot on, and I would add that with so many shifting priorities in an organization, it becomes very difficult for many people to keep their eyes on the endgame and fully execute.

That's certainly been my experience, when I look back at great ideas that never saw the light of day. More often than not, it was because I had too many conflicting priorities and immediate, hair-on-fire deadlines, and so anything that was not crucial got pushed to the back burner, or pushed off the stove entirely.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 4:03:17 PM
Re: CDO turf
@tjgkg: Sadly in most organizations that is the case, and those who do get things accomplished oftentimes get overlooked or not credited with it. This is also, in part, due to the fact that our business culture in the U.S. tends to reward the extrovert over the introvert. I'm reading a fascinating book on this topic right now, called "Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking." I highly recommend! It discusses the challenges that introverts face in climbing the corporate ladder, among many other eye-opening topics related to what our business culture is all about. All we need to do is look at the flaming that Apple's Tim Cook is getting to see just how difficult it is to not fit the mold in today's corporate environment.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
6/25/2014 | 4:06:12 PM
Re: Amazing
@SachinEE: Eventually, many copmanies will be forced to change their approach and culture toward this digital-forward mindset. And that is, truly, what it is at the core: A shift in corporate mindset. It's good to see, in the examples you cite, industries that have sometimes been viewed as being behind the curve when it comes to using technology are now actually embracing it for the betterment of the organizaitons and the people they serve (particulary healthcare and government). While there will be missteps along the way, any step forward is a sign of progress.
larryloeb
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larryloeb,
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6/28/2014 | 3:52:41 PM
Re: CDO turf
@Ashu

I'm glad your thoughts and mine align here. 

It's not the title so much as what you do with it.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2014 | 2:35:35 PM
Re: CDO turf
@tjgkg: Fair enough, though I think anyone who tried to fill Jobs' shoes would have faced the same level of scrutiny and criticism, even if they were a more dynamic personality. Jobs left a huge void and I'm challenged to think of any exec who could fill it. Maybe Elon Musk?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2014 | 2:44:01 PM
Re: CDO turf
@SaneIT: Can we clone you? Sersiously, so few managers have such an enlightened, ego-less view of their roles. Your personal insights on this topic can be put into practice at any level of one's career. Let me ask: Did you learn this from a mentor or guide, or has this always been your personal philosophy since you began your career?
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2014 | 2:50:08 PM
Re: CDO turf
@WaqasAtlaf: And it may well turn out that this is a position that is only necessary for a certain number of years as companies make the transition into being truly digital from end to end. There's a lot of importance to the person who can be the liaison to bring disparate groups together in an organization to mold the future strategy, whatever that person's title  may be.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2014 | 2:58:57 PM
Re: CDO turf
@Ashish: So glad you found it useful. I have learned so  much from reading this book, and also it has helped me understand how most corporate environments are so heavily tilted toward extroverts as to be damaging. Even something as basic as office design really does not allow for the introvert to be truly productive at work. I hope this can be the start of some new thinking about how corporations accommodate different kinds of people.
Susan_Nunziata
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Susan_Nunziata,
User Rank: Strategist
7/2/2014 | 3:03:11 PM
Re: CDO turf
@Ashish: I do think we're in a state of C-Level overload, and in today's media some CEOs in particular are treated like rock stars, especially in the U.S. It seems from where I sit that corporations based outside the U.S. take a much more realistic view of the C-level roles and the display of wealth is far less ostentatious, for example. 

There's also just an overload of title creep: Everybody gets VP or director titles these days, so the next big thing is to snag a Chief Something Or Other title. The real question is what actual poewr comes along with that title...


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