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Hire a Chief digital officer. Now!

zio sam I want you

“Why You Should Consider Hiring A Chief Digital Officer, And Why Now”, written by Lisa Arthur on Forbes, is almost an advertisement. But this is hardly surprising, considering that the concepts used to understand and explain the utility of CDOs in companies are market-oriented.

Today, the omnichannel customer experience is growingly important in this market, which has become data-driven.  Arthur believes that this is why companies must find ways and people to manage the amounts of information that can dictate dynamics, models and strategies even to major companies.

The relationship between companies and consumers has reversed. As Enel’s Marketsenior vice-president Nicola Lanzetta explained to marketrevolution.it, we are experiencing an “asymmetry of information”, in which “customers have more information than companies”. The result is that “all the balances and ‘plays of forces’ have been reversed, defining a new scenario that companies find really very difficult to manage”.

The Chief Digital Officer responds to an urgent need, and is more than just a name for a new role. Lisa Arthur believes that what we call the ”digital-savvy”, “business-driven leaders” -who can meet the need of companies to shift from traditional business models to data-driven ones – is quite irrelevant. What matters is that companies identify the necessary expertise that the person called to organise the ‘big data hairball’ must have.

A CDO who wants to access the market using Big Data must have (at least) four skills,according to the article on Forbes:

  • Technical expertise is decisive for Arthur but is not the main skill because “the primary responsibility of this role is not to make tech decisions”
  • Cross-functional finesse to carry out processes that consistently integrate aligned data management and customer relations
  • Silo-busting prowess because “the big data hairball permeates all departments and transcends individual rolesbig data”
  • Global perspective because the “CDO must see how data – from all departments and regions – impacts the entire enterprise and must work to align different departments with a comprehensive data strategy”.

Chief Digital Officers that are tailored to the Forbes model already exist. The most well-known examples are Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and Bruce Banner! Seriously, I don’t think you need to be a super hero to become a CDO, but the profile that Lisa Arthur describes clarifies a decisive fact: the qualities that the new Chief must have are not defined according to current corporate parameters, but by criteria imposed by Big Data.


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