Thursday, Mar 20 2014

Are You an Aspiring Chief Digital Officer in Silicon Valley?

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The technology landscape is transforming faster every day. Mobile technology, Big Data, social media, analytics, cloud computing, and more impact the digital world, creating massive infrastructure shifts and leaving businesses scrambling to keep up. Companies running on legacy platforms need a way to compete with newer organizations born in the digital era—and a CDO might be the answer.

Chief Digital Officer, or CDO, is a new and evolving role in the business world. In fact, CDOs are so new that the positions are barely defined, and few of these professionals have set-in-stone job descriptions. However, that isn’t stopping companies from hiring for this untested position in a bid to harness the latest technologies.

What is a CDO?

Chief digital officers are not to be confused with chief information officers (CIOs). Where the CIO typically runs the company infrastructure and makes technology decisions, the CDO is generally responsible for organizational transformation—helping the company as a whole break down older, legacy frameworks and practices, and transition into a fluid new infrastructure built on new tech.

While the actual responsibilities of the CDO vary from company to company, the core commitment is to develop, implement, and manage a smooth transition. CDOs must be fluent in both technology and business skills, able to truly understand both the company and the ultimate vision for where the organization wants to be.

CDOs: A rising trend

In a recent post on Gartner’s blog, analyst Dave Aron stated, “The Chief Digital Officer is emerging and maturing as a role fast.” Gartner’s data indicates that while only 6 percent of companies currently employ CDOs, the numbers are “springing up faster than we can count them.” By 2015, Gartner projects that 25% of companies will have a CDO.

How to succeed as a CDO

What does it take to land and perform a job that is under-defined and still emerging? Some of the top traits of successful CDOs include:

  • Leadership skills. Transformative, large-scale projects require everyone’s cooperation to succeed. A good CDO will be able to earn an organization-wide commitment, despite any internal office politics that may serve as a barrier.
  • Detailed planning abilities. The CDO’s primary role is to create an end-to-end digital strategy that covers every corner of the company’s operations.
  • A strong network. The best digital professionals are connected with several experts. They aren’t necessarily the most knowledgeable or tech-savvy individual to be found—but they do have a solid network of experts and innovators for consulting and collaboration.
  • Business fluency. Tech skills are essential for CDOs. But just as important are business skills in every department, and the ability to communicate on multiple levels—from highly technical to powerfully simplistic. A successful CDO will be able to excite not only in-house staff, but also customers, vendors, and boards of directors about the upcoming transition.

If you’re an aspiring CDO, now is the time to find that perfect position. Established companies are looking for skilled digital experts to help them boldly enter the brave new world of advanced technology, and keep up with their savvy competition. You can be the solution to this problem. If you are looking for employment agencies in Silicon Valley, contact our team today.