- PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) released the findings of a new study showing that 19% of the world's largest 2,500 public companies have a chief digital officer (CDO). The number more than tripled last year's figure of 6%.
- Strategy&’s 2016 Chief Digital Officer Study also found that most CDOs (60%) were hired in the past two years alone. The study aimed to quantify executive commitment to carrying out a digital mission, the number of CDOs and where the CDO position fits into organizational hierarchy.
- The study's key findings show that 35% of insurance companies and 27% of consumer-product firms and banks have CDOs. European companies are hiring CDOs faster than others (38% versus 23% in North America), while large companies hire the most digital leaders, peaking at 33% for 2017's first quarter.
The study dispels any myths that digital leaders are a short-lived fad. While leading their organization's digital strategies, CDOs figure out how to make new technologies compatible with older ones.
HR departments are included in this transformation. The rise of people analytics and big data in functions ranging from recruiting to benefits management can't be implemented without expertise in the C-suite. It's telling that little more than half of organizations believe they have a strong digital IQ, according to a separate PwC study.
Sometimes the roles of chief information officer (CIO) and CDO are viewed as interchangeable, but that isn't always the case. Jim Fowler, VP and CIO of General Electric, told participants at an MIT Sloan CIO Symposium last month he believes that the CDO's role should focus on building software and analytics products for commercial sale, whereas CIOs should work to help organizations function more effectively.