McKinsey: 30% have a Chief Digital Officer on their executive team

McKinsey & Company
NEW YORK, NY September 12, 2013: McKinsey & Company’s annual global survey, Bullish on Digital, concludes that Chief Digital Officers are already playing critical roles in the C-suites of major global organizations:
Thirty percent of respondents also report a chief digital officer (CDO) on their companies’ executive teams, a sign of the widespread awareness that these initiatives are important. In a sign that this new role is already creating value, respondents whose organizations have a CDO also indicate significantly more progress toward their digital vision than those without one.
The McKinsey report, by Brad Brown, Johnson Sikes, and Paul Willmott, stressed that leadership was the “most decisive factor”:

Leadership is the most decisive factor for a digital program’s success or failure. Increasing C-level involvement is a positive sign, and the creation of a CDO role seems to be a leading indicator for increasing the speed of advancement. These developments must continue if companies are to meet their high aspirations for digital.

This morning over breakfast I enjoyed discussing this further with David Edelman, who leads McKinsey’s Digital Marketing Strategy Practice,  right before he sped over to his morning keynote at The Future of Marketing Summit by the Financial Times. I also spoke to two of the authors of the report, Johnson Sykes and Paul Willmott, which I will elaborate on in a future blog post.

But McKinsey is not alone.

This summer, the importance of a Chief Digital Officer-type role has been covered by the MIT Center for Digital Business (in the Harvard Business Review), Deloitte University Press (in the MIT Sloan Management Review), Booz & Company (in the Financial Times), and by Robert Berkman (in the MIT Sloan Management Review), which I excerpted below:

MIT Center for Digital BusinessShould Your CIO be a Chief Digital Officer?
by George Westerman
Harvard Business Review (August 2, 2013)

The CDO’s job is to turn the digital cacophony into a symphony. The CDO creates a unifying digital vision, energizes the company around digital possibilities, coordinates digital activities, helps to rethink products and processes for the digital age, and sometimes provides critical tools or resources. The title CDO may or may not become permanent in your company. But the responsibilities of the CDO will be required.”

Deloitte University PressSocial Business: Shifting Out of First Gear
by Douglas Palmer and Anh Nguyen Phillips
MIT Sloan Management Review: David Kiron, Ed.
August 2013

The Executives Role in Social Business
by Douglas Palmer and Anh Nguyen Phillips
MIT Sloan Management Review: David Kiron, Ed.
June 2013

At the same time, the new role of Chief Digital Officer(CDO) is emerging in the C-suite. While the specific responsibilities vary, CDOs can provide broad leadership and attention to key digital initiatives.  (August 2013)

While the specific responsibilities of a CDO vary based on the industry and company, the basic mandate of the CDO role is to provide broad leadership of key digital-based initiatives that affect the entire organization or its critical focus areas.  (June 2013)

Digitising the industrial company
by Kumar Krishnamurthy and Marian Mueller
Financial Times
July 2013

In our view, digitisation strategies that are integral to corporate strategy should be “owned” by a C-level executive: the chief digital officer.

MIT Sloan Management ReviewThe Emergence of Chief Digital Officers
by Robert Berkman
MIT Sloan Management Review (April 29, 2013)

As social and other digital technologies shift responsibilities in the C-suite, businesses are creating a new position, the chief digital officer or CDO, to focus their digital strategy. Appearing in many industries, CDOs share a similar mandate: provide oversight and strategy, and create a big-picture view of how social and digital technologies can make a difference to the entire organization.”

I spoke to each of the authors above, in part to share with them our detailed demographic data on CDOs, which agreed with some of their findings. For example, according to our Chief Digital Officer Talent Map 2013, since January 1, 2013:

  • Two hundred (200)+ new Chief Digital Officers have been hired globally
  • Five (5) Chief Digital Officers became CEOs
  • Four (4) Chief Digital Officers became Board Directors

If you are looking to hire a Chief Digital Officer-type role, or you are an individual who wants to become a CDO, our Executive Search service helps companies and organizations find qualified digital leaders with the proper cultural fit.

The best place to meet them is at the next Chief Digital Officer Summit, April 22-3, 2014 at Time Warner in New York City.

Be sure to register  now to save $1,000 off the regular price.

Our 2013 Summit completely SOLD OUT of tickets, weeks before the summit date.

Register now and save $1,000

Eventbrite - Chief Digital Officer Summit 2014

The CDO Summit is the “must-attend” digital event of the year. But don’t take our word for it – last year’s CDO Summit received stellar endorsements from dozens of speakers and attendees alike:

“Sometimes a conference comes along that hits the trifecta – hot topic, high-caliber attendees, and stellar location. The first Chief Digital Officer Summit reached that mark with ease, and I look forward to attending the next one.”

“The best-organized conference I’ve been to in years, the Chief Digital Officer Summit was packed with smart people and smart ideas. Leave ‘em wanting more is what they say, and David Mathison and his team delivered. Now, we want more!”

“David, here’s a handy C^3 test for conference value: Did I learn at least three new perspectives? Check. Did I meet at least three interesting people? Check. Did I take back at least three relevant pieces of news I can use? Check. Flying colors for the Chief Digital Officer Summit 2013! Thank you so much, and yes, I’d be very pleased to participate next year!”

“Congratulations on an exceptional first CDO Summit. I truly enjoyed all the panel discussions as well as the intimate environment where I was able to meet such amazing people. The conversations were very enlightening and touched on all the challenges my team and I face on a technology, content, and culture front. I look forward to participating next year.”

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