Market Analysis

CIO Research: The Birth of the CDO

Harvey Nash’s CIO Survey for 2014 is out. And it’s claiming 2014 is a watershed year for CIOs since ‘Seven years of budget famine appears to be coming to an end.’ But is it as simple as that?

First the good news – IT budgets are growing at their fastest rates since 2006, and CEOs are wanting projects involving innovation instead of cost savings and efficiency drives. The bad news – CIOs probably aren’t going to be the ones choosing where & how the money is spent.

The Usurping CDOs

Instead of CIOs, we’re looking at the rise of the Chief Digital Officers, or CDOs. According to the survey, 7% of organisations now employ them, with that figure rising to 16% in companies with technology budgets of $100 million+. This figure is predicted to hit a quarter of those big companies by 2017.

A few of these Digital Usurpers report to the CIO, but most answer to the CEO. And although CIOs are still more important to a company than in years gone by, they are less likely to be in charge of digital strategies than last year. But for whoever is in charge, the same problems remain; skill shortages, difficulty retaining the staff you do manage to hire, Big Data implementation and strained relationships between IT and other departments.

The rise of the CDO hasn’t been as dramatic as Gartner once predicted - 25% of organizations were due to have a CDO by next year – but CIOs are still left in a pickle. They can stick with the smaller companies to retain their importance, lose ground and answer to CDOs in big companies, or try and take the step-up to the position themselves in crucial relationships with other departments? With half of CIOs planning to change jobs within the next two years we’re soon to find out.





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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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