Companies in all industries are being pulled into the digital age. Customers now expect seamless experiences with the online products and services they use, and they will leave behind businesses that aren’t able to meet those digital expectations. Companies such as Uber and Lyft are pushing out traditional taxi companies, for example. Cable companies feel pressure from cord-cutters. The ad industry is in flux due to ad blockers. And the list just goes on. If your organization doesn’t make the right moves or acquire the right talent its days could be numbered.
Enter the chief digital officer (CDO).
The CDO role has been around for some time, but the position continues to evolve as the C-suite becomes more crowded. “The CDO owns identifying the key areas where digital transformation can dramatically improve the customer experience and is the influencer who drives that change to happen in the organization,” says Mark Orttung, CEO at Nexient, a technology services provider that specializes in agile software development.
Who needs a CDO?
Four years ago at McGraw-Hill, a top educational publisher, the company’s leadership recognized the need for new, more modern software and digital services for its clients. “The CEO decided that in order for McGraw-Hill to continue thrive it was important to service the world of education through robust and authentic learning technologies,” says Stephen Laster, McGraw-Hill’s first CDO. “He knew that strategically that needed to be the focus of McGraw-Hill as a learning science company.” Laster is responsible for all of the company’s product development. However, every organization breaks down C-suite responsibilities differently, so the scope of the CDO role varies from organization to organization.
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