Who should lead the Digital Transformation?
The leader leading Digital Transformation is usually called the Chief Digital Officer (CDO). The primary function of a Chief Digital Officer is to leverage digital tools to enhance the customer experience. Digital Transformation involves infusing technologies into the business and changing the way a company do business. This means that digital transformation requires a cultural change and the CDO, the leader of digital transformation will be faced with obstacles such people’s resistance to change, knowledge gap in the employees, legacy systems and processes. The right CDO to lead the digital transformation will need to have the right background and experience to tackle such issues.
How should you select the right candidate to lead the Digital Transformation?
- The CDO should have leadership skills with Operational Experience.
Digital Transformation involves change management. Inadvertently, the CDO needs to have leadership skills, not just managerial skill, to inspire, motivate and encourage people to embrace the changes and the new directions the company is taking. However, he cannot be just a charismatic leader, but one who is a seasoned Chief Operating Officer who can solve problems, make decisions and influence effectively across the organisation.
- The CDO skills and mindsets must not be solely on technology
Many company assume that the tech-savvy head of IT would be the natural leader to lead Digital Transformation. This is a wrong thinking. If the head of IT does not have any business training or experience, he will not know how to promote a product, how to make a product successful. He may be very good in developing a new product technically but he will not be focusing on the customers and value proposition, let alone innovating game-changing business models.
- The CDO should ideally have a mix of marketing and technical know-how
A person who is not able to learn technology easily but can run marketing campaign well, will struggle to learn the new technologies and hence will not be an effective leader to set the vision and direction. Hence, the most ideal person to lead the transformation is one with the marketing skill and the technical know-how.