Chief Data Officer vs. Chief Digital Officer

Complexity of digital transformation demands new skills in the C-suite

The speed, magnitude, and scope of the digital transformation that the business world has been undergoing since the early 2000s makes it truly revolutionary. Companies are facing increasing complexity due to its impact on business models, products, services, customer experiences, and enterprise operational excellence. Hence, multiple initiatives are being launched in parallel across enterprises to derive business value from new technologies. In this context, organizations need skilled managers to oversee the organizational transformation to digital and to take responsibility for enterprise information management. In response, they often expand their C-suite by adding two new roles: Chief Digital Officer and Chief Data Officer.

Evolution of Chief Data & Chief Digital Officer

Two CDOs? Where is the difference?

Since both CDO roles are relatively new in their current form, there are no established standards in regard to job descriptions or staffing. Nevertheless, the demand for high-performing CDOs is high and the supply of talented candidates relatively low. Sharpening the distinction between the roles is a good starting point to fully comprehend their contribution to their companies’ strategic goals and to set the right expectations.

Role profiles of Chief Data & Chief Digital Officer

How do CDOs collaborate with each other?

There is a clear distinction between the two CDOs. The job of a Chief Digital Officer is to orchestrate the digital transformation, engage in public relations, and act as an innovation radar. On the other hand, the Chief Data Officer defines the information and analytics strategy and ensures compliance, quality, security, privacy, and governance of data. Nonetheless, they intersect whenever information management can fuel the digital transformation. In this context, they jointly serve a common purpose of deriving innovation and business value from new technologies.

Collaboration model of Chief Data & Chief Digital Officer

Over and above, the interaction of both CDOs throughout the innovation process can generate additional value for the companies. In this setup, a Chief Digital Officer has a significant involvement as a trigger of an ideation process and a Chief Data Officer is involved in the delivery of innovation into a product. As a result of their collaboration, they can orchestrate the data-driven digital transformation.

CDOs collaboration across the Idea-to-Outcome process

written by
Aleksandra Baumann
Aleksandra Baumann is a Consultant for Enterprise Information Management at Camelot and has been supporting companies in governance topics since 2014. Her experience includes organizational development, change management and new technologies.

This post is also available in: German