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by Jenni Davidson
24 June 2016
Research outlines the type of chief digital officer different organisations need

Research outlines the type of chief digital officer different organisations need

Image: Dods Media Library

A new report has identified five different types of chief digital officer (CDO) suitable for different sorts of organisation.

The Right CDO for Your Company’s Future, by PwC’s Strategy& business consultancy, defines five chief digital officer ‘archetypes’ – roles CDOs might play within an organisation.

The five types are ‘progressive thinker’, ‘creative disrupter’, ‘customer advocate’, ‘innovative technologist’ and ‘universalist’.

The ‘progressive thinker’ thinks imaginatively about how the business could be transformed through digitisation and provides inspiration as the company moves to a full digital strategy and operating model.

The report suggests progressive thinkers are most suitable for traditional industries such as chemicals, oil and gas and mining which have yet to benefit fully from digitisation.

The ‘creative disrupter’ has a more hands-on approach to developing new digital technologies and business models, which the report suggests can be valuable for companies in consumer-oriented sectors facing major change as a result of digitisation, such as publishing and retail.

The ‘customer advocate’ focuses on the development of a “convenient, engaging and seamless” customer experience across digital and physical channels, and is best suited for companies in customer-facing industries such as retail, banking, and travel.

The ‘innovative technologist’ promotes the use of new digital technologies to make supply chains more efficient and bring digital technologies to factories and production, particularly useful for companies in manufacturing industries.

Lastly, the ‘universalist’ is typically brought in to manage a complete digital transformation in organisations in any industry that find themselves behind in adapting to the digital world and need rapid transformational change.

Stewart Wilson, PwC in Scotland partner for digital transformation and SAAS, said: “What we have found is that, despite tough times in many sectors across the country, there is an acknowledgement that increased investment in digital is a requirement – from UX to cyber-security – it’s an area that now touches all sectors in all departments.

“As such, it needs people with the right mindset but what’s suitable for the financial sector may not be the same for the third sector.

“Our report aims to help companies identify what they should be looking for in their senior digital staff – while providing a roadmap for those aspiring to the top.

“The report is timely when you consider that Scottish councils are currently deliberating over who to appoint as their first nationwide CDO.

“There is considerable opportunity for the person appointed to that position as our recent report, The Local State We’re In, highlighted the public’s increasing desire for real-time digital engagement with councils.

“But the survey also showed that only 23 per cent of the public feel their council embraces digital opportunities and only 30 per cent of people trust local government with their personal and private data so there is a lot of work for Scotland’s first council CDO.”

According to PwC, less than 10 per cent of Scottish organisations currently have defined a CDO position.

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