Gartner estimates that there will be more than 25 billion connected devices by the year 2020 and nearly one million digital natives joining the workforce in the next 7 years. Also, what is shocking is that there has been nine times more data in the last two years than in the entire history of humanity. Customers today want fresh information all the time and every time. Business strategies must sync seamlessly with ever-expanding digital strategies that will address mobile , social and local channels. This has led to the rise of an imperative role called the Chief Digital Officer.
Even though there has been a sluggish adoption in the market with only 6% of the organizations having appointed a Chief Digital Officer, the Europeans are fore-fronting this trend. The United States has seen some growth while in Asia the position remains relatively junior. Many customer-facing industries, including media, entertainment, food and beverage will be taking this newly emerged role seriously.
The work life of a Chief Digital Officer includes major interactions with teams from marketing, products, communications, operations and legal. Their roles will be vertical in nature and studying intricate digital needs of teams must be their ultimatum. Being flexible will be vital for them to visualize and actualize their digital plans with stakeholders.
The ‘Adapt-Disrupt-Transform-Disappear’ role
The lifecycle of a Chief Digital Officer will demand them to adapt to the organization’s present work culture, disrupt existing processes and with guidance transform the entire organization to a digital build. Since then, their role will be quite invisible as compared to their former roles, hence disappear.
The sharp rise in demand for Chief Digital Officers has been matched by an equally sharp rise in the level of compensation offered. Reflecting the scarcity of talent, today’s highly qualified command double the remuneration levels of their predecessors. More than 40 percent of Chief Digital Officers are senior members belonging to the C-suite and are most commonly from the marketing, sales or technology spectra.
An organization looking to recruit a Chief Digital Officer might find it tricky. After two ruling decades of the internet, there has been a reasonable increase in the mid-level digital managers, but a few senior level managers with broad experiences. To attract these candidates, organizations must offer them well-structured roles.
“Make sure you become part of the team, understand and work within the culture, and apply the rules,” says Hoffstetter. PWc. “But at the same time you need to maintain your energy and your external views and your willingness to disagree with others regarding digital strategy.”
Evidently, Chief Digital Officers do have a difficult road in front of them, but if they are on the right track and comprise of the right skills, they will surely be prove to be digital heroes for many digitally ambitious organizations.