The job role of chief digital officers have cropped up over the last few years owing to the incredible developments taking place in the technology environment, and increasing dependence of companies on diverse digital devices. According to Joe Cianciotto, chief digital officers ideally help a private or public sector company to drive growth by effectively converting the traditional analog system of doing business to high-end digital technology equipped processes that is driven majorly by modern online technologies and data. They often oversee operations in the rapidly changing and evolving digital sectors, such as social media mobile applications, virtual goods, as well as applications related to web-based information management and marketing.

The prime responsibilities of chief digital officers tend to deal with the transformation of traditional operations of any company with the usage of digital processes.  According to Joe Cianciotto, these professionals aim at generating new and innovative business opportunities, developing customer services and creating revenue streams, with the adoption of distinguished digital technologies and techniques.  Their particular responsibilities would differ from company to company, and may range from simply replacing paper forms with a digital equivalent to even reorganizing entire business units.

As these professionals are majorly are highly reliant on the use of technology, there typically tends to be an overlap between their role and that of the chief information officer (CIO). However, while chief information officer majorly deal with IT implementation, chief digital officers are usually characterized as change agents.

As pointed by Joe Cianciotto, there are multiple roles and responsibilities carried out by chief digital officers. Here are a few of them:

  • These professionals strive to map digital capabilities to mark strategic priorities. Digital technologies would not get the needed visibility or support it needs in case it is not able to help a company head towards a positive direction.
  • In many cases, chief digital officers tend to serve as the executive sponsor for digital process innovation. There are several other executives present in organizations whose job roles cannot be measured on the basis of functionality or economies of scale that is provided by digital capabilities. For example, it would not be difficult to take into consideration the complexities involved in the digitization of the mortgage loan application process, and how it shall impact a variety of existing business processes.
  • Chief digital officers often have to both develop and administer the digital project portfolio.  The responsibility of the actual deployment of digital solutions would tend to rest with line of business executives. The aspect of centralized monitoring of heterogeneous digital initiatives is extremely vital.

While many emerging start-ups and flourishing companies tend to have a level of   digital mastery embedded in their DNA. However, many older companies are now faced with the difficult challenge of rethinking and re-calibrating their traditional business models, so as to effectively adapt to the very different digital economy of today.