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According to a study lead by peopleTECH, only 2 % of the world’s largest businesses have a CDO! A very poor percentage when we know that the CDO is considered in companies like the digital transformation orchestrator.

Digital Transformation is a long and complex process which requires a strong and well planned strategy.

A post has been created to take charge of digital transformation that impacts all activities. The job title is Chief Digital Officer (CDO) (or Digital Project Manager, Digital Transformation Director, etc.). The prime mission is to support these changes and to define coherent projects.

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com

The CDO has a truly transversal function that requires communication and negotiating talents. He must discuss with all businesses functions to fully understand their needs and integrate them in the global digital strategy, and be capable of federating them all (Operations, IT, Human Resources, Marketing – and the Executive Board).

He must manage the incorporation of digital technologies in work processes. He cannot accomplish this task alone, especially since it involves a number of preliminary stages: communication, enterprise culture adaptation, skills development, etc.

The CDO will be wise to adopt certain good practices:

  • Involve senior and middle management in the transformation project.
  • Communicate about the digital and commercial strategy to all employees, for example through newsletters, posters and internal events. Working with the Communication and Marketing people, he should develop an internal communication plan (not intended for external customers).
  • Maintain a proactive dialog with all stakeholders so that everyone can express their points of view and feel involved. To do this, he could for example create a collaborative working group for each digital project on the enterprise social network.
  • Seek the support of the departments concerned for each digital transformation project. For example, for a new computer application the CDO must work with the future users to identify the best technological solution and the best processes, with IT to ensure agile deployment, with Training to find the best training and skills development approach, and with Business Support to set up an efficient, durable system that matches users’ needs.

The Chief Digital Officer’s role is to drive the digital transformation across the entire organization. Success is vital in today’s markets marked by increasingly fierce competition and fickle customers.Most importantly, the CDO must achieve total adhesion of the personnel to the company’s transformation, for without internal transformation there can be no external transformation. All other functions in the organization must be made aware of the necessity of digital transformation and accept transversal, collaborative management of these changes.

The success of digital transformation also depends on its being accepted across the entire organization and on taking a transversal approach to change management. The various corporate activities – Operations, IT, Human Resources, Chief Digital Officer, etc. – can no longer be conducted in isolation: they must combine their efforts and draw on individuals’ skills to effectively support employees during the transformation.

To know more about digital transformation, download our white paper “Digital Transformation”