Where does the chief digital officer fit into retail’s executive team?
The role of the chief digital officer continues to evolve as digital transformation increasingly impacts many parts of retailing. A new study from Deloitte finds that the role’s success depends on how they perform within four archetypes. These are:
- The Disrupter: Typically reporting to the CEO with high accountability and decision efficiency, the Disruptor has the mandate to transform existing business models and ways of working. Cons of the position may include too much accountability in organizations where the overabundance of changes can be overwhelming.
- The Innovative Integrator: Also reporting to the CEO, the Innovative Integrator primarily focuses on the highest-priority innovations but may lack full control over all digital execution, i.e., product R&D.
- The Market-Minded Maven: Typically reporting to the CMO or CRO, the Market-Minded Maven drives new digital solutions for customer-facing channels and routes to market. The downside is the role may be disconnected from other business units.
- The Technology Integrator: Usually reporting to the CIO or CTO, the Technology Integrator accelerates change based on single-outcome initiatives that optimize operations. The shortcoming is that initiatives undertaken may not adapt quickly enough with changing business needs and key components of business strategy may get overlooked.
The study found that empowered chief digital officers, backed by strong mandates and executive support, could produce significant operational improvement. Deloitte wrote in the study, “The rate and scope of digital transformations are highly individualized to each organization, and it may take months or even years to transform.”
Gartner recently predicted that half of chief digital officers without a chief data officer peer will need to become the de facto chief data officer to succeed. The “2021 Gartner Board of Directors” survey found that 69 percent have accelerated their digital business initiatives in response to COVID-19 disruption and are moving faster now than before the pandemic began. Seventy-eight percent said that analytics will emerge as the top game-changing technology from the COVID-19 crisis.
Mike Rollings, VP at Gartner, said in a statement, “The success of these endeavors is intertwined — a digital business cannot exist without data and analytics.”
- Designing the modern digital function – Deloitte
- Gartner Predicts by 2023, 50% of Chief Digital Officers in Organizations Without a Chief Data Officer (CDO) Should Become the De Facto CDO to Ensure Success – Gartner
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Has the role of the chief digital officer significantly changed over the last year? What role do you see CDOs playing in retailers’ unified commerce efforts?