The Chief Digital Officer (CDO), a new management position, is increasingly being created to plan and implement the digital transformation in companies. In view of this development, the question arises whether the Chief Information Officer (CIO) cannot also be responsible for the digital transformation in organizations (Source: Walchshofer and Riedl). But what does a Chief Digital Officer do?

Tasks of the CDO

In their study, Walchshofer and Riedl examined the various tasks of the CDO on the basis of job advertisements. So both state: The CDO is responsible for developing the digital strategy responsible. This strategy is derived from the corporate strategy and should be implemented by the CDO and anchored in the company. Farther he is responsible for controlling and checking the change. It should develop and derive new business models and check them for feasibility.

The central task of the CDO is also to create efficient structures. By digitizing and simplifying business processes, a higher process speed is to be achieved and agility ensured (Walchshofer and Riedl). In addition, both authors identify tasks such as: maintaining internal and external networks as well as external representation, changing the corporate culture and managing employees.

Requirements for the CDO

Walchshofer and Riedl find that an economic or technical degree is often required. Knowledge in sub-areas of business such as personnel management, processes and marketing as well as in areas of IT is required. Essential basic knowledge is required here. Experience in digitization projects is often mentioned as an important factor.
In addition, there are the usual soft skills such as empathy, frustration tolerance and leadership experience. In this way, a Chief Digital Officer should be able to better implement the necessary changes in the company.

The CDO – requirements and tasks (own illustration)

Conclusion: CIO and CDO?

At the end of the study, Walchshofer and Riedl draw a conclusion as to whether the CDO and the CIO are the same or not. So both say: You can see that there are significant overlaps in terms of both tasks and requirements. However, it also becomes transparent that specific to CDO and CIO Tasks exist. It is also noticeable that there are no requirements for the CIO that are not also relevant for the CDO.
The following text passage can be found in the conclusion of the study: In summary, the work of the CDO can be described as overriding (in the sense of more strategic) compared to that of the CIO. The person works across functions and the focus is on digitization and the digital transformation of the company.
At the end, the question is also asked whether a CDO will now be established permanently or whether it will only remain a short-term topic. The question remains: What does a Chief Digital Officer do?
[werbung] Verwendete Quellen anzeigen

Walchshofer, M., & Riedl, R. (2017). The Chief Digital Officer (CDO): An Empirical Research. HMD Praxis der Wirtschaftsinformatik , February , 14.


I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more

The cookie settings on this website are set to "Allow Cookies" to provide the best browsing experience. If you use this website without changing the cookie settings or click "Accept", you agree to this.