Deloitte: How a CDO can direct the digital transformation

By Kate Birch
Deloitte’s latest insight explores how a Chief Digital Officer can help orchestrate the digital transformation journey...

The latest in Deloitte’s Digital industrial transformation collection looks at how digital leaders – often Chief Digital Officers – can make digital industrial transformation a reality.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has changed the landscape of business operations, says Deloitte, with leaders around the world recognising the power of digital and the competitive edge that Industry 4.0 can provide.

This latest insight provides a deeper look at key attributes that can help smooth any organisation’s digital transformation.

In a recent survey, 85 per cent of CEOs agreed that being a digital business is important for success, but only 40 per cent said they possess the vision to lead a digital business.

Leaders who want to take full advantage of Industry 4.0 possibilities should look to orchestrate the digital transformation journey and create an operational structure that drives toward digital goals in a consistent, cohesive, and integrated manner. 

Which type of digital leader are you?

Deloitte says most successful digital transformations begin at the top, with the organisation appointing a chief digital officer (CDO), a senior leader with a long-term digital vision. 

It conducted research across 20 diverse companies that recently underwent a digital transformation and found those that appointed empowered CDOs showed dramatic operational improvement.

The research suggests that most CDOs fit one of four archetypes.


The disrupter

The CDO has the mandate to transform existing business models and ways of working. The role has high accountability and high decision efficiency, typically reporting to the CEO.

The innovative integrator

The CDO integrates customer sensing and insights with operational capability improvements. While the CDO reports to the CEO, they primarily focus on the highest-priority innovations and may lack full control over all digital execution.

The market-minded maven

The CDO drives new digital solutions for customer-facing channels and routes to market. The role focuses on digital initiatives that affect customer growth, which may result in them being disconnected from other business units. The CDO is accountable for end-to-end customer experience and typically reports to the CMO or CRO.

The technology integrator

The CDO is technology-centric and uses digital innovation to accelerate change. The role is focused on single-outcome initiatives that result in optimised operations. The flip side of this approach is that the initiatives undertaken may not adapt quickly enough with changing business needs, and key components of business strategy may get overlooked. The CDO typically reports to the CIO or CTO.


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