The CIO of recruitment website Reed.co.uk has shared his thoughts on the necessity of the chief digital officer (CDO) role, explaining that he has backtracked on his original stance that they were not needed.
Mark Ridley told V3 that CDOs are especially necessary in traditional businesses for which doing business digitally doesn't always come naturally.
"I've argued for a long time that business didn't need CDOs. More recently I've started tracking back on that statement. It was very easy for me to say companies didn't need CDOs as Reed.co.uk is a purely digital business," he said.
"We have a physical sales team, but at the end of the day they're empowered by technology. We don't create, stock and ship widgets, we build a SaaS product.
"At the end of the day we ship bits. The digital role runs the entire way through our business. So our requirements are always much more digital than anything else.
"Where I started to get a stronger idea of where a CDO might be valuable is around the transformation of more traditional business, where digital is in addition to the core business."
Ridley explained that in organisations where the CIO has an overall governance responsibility over technology, a CDO could still be useful even in a temporary capacity to lead strategic change that "embraces digital into the business".
"That's where a lot of retailers and manufacturers are. But that still leaves the CIO in place in those more traditional businesses, as there's still CRM, ERP, stock control, and these other big systems to look after. But at that point it is important to have digital focus," he said.
Ridley has also argued recently for businesses to look to economics and sociology graduates when trying to recruit data scientists.
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