UPDATED 17:19 EDT / APRIL 21 2021


Companies caught in the chaos of rapid digital transformation look to chief data officers for clarity

The past year has forced every company to have a digital footprint in the market, which means someone needs to oversee these digital processes and ensure they are implemented efficiently and securely. But who?

“Quite frankly, the chief information officer already has a day job. Your chief marketing officer already has a day job. So trying to look at how to be really innovative in these areas creates a gap,” said Laureen Knudsen (pictured), chief transformation officer of Broadcom Inc., founding member of the BizOps Coalition, and co-author of “Modern Business Management: Creating a Built-to-Change Organization.”

Knudsen spoke with Lisa Martin, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the Chaos to Clarity: BizOps for Digital Transformation event. They discussed the role of the chief digital officer and why BizOps is important to a digital business. (* Disclosure below.)

CDOs bridge the divide between IT and business

Many companies are choosing to hire a chief digital officer to bring the entire organization together under one digital umbrella. CDOs can act as a bridge between the different lines of business and information technology, linking the internal and external focus points of the company and making sure communication is smooth, according to Knudsen.

Questions the CDO can answer include: “What kind of digital marketing should you be doing? What are your competitors doing? How can you make the most bang for your buck essentially across your entire organization?” Kundsen explained. The role also links in departments that are often skipped in the digital transformation process, “like your legal team or your finance team and the interactions with them,” she added.

Another area where the CDO can create clarity from the chaos of rapid digital transformation is managing data. A new study sponsored by Broadcom shows that 97% of companies experience data-related problems, including data overload and failure to prioritize critical data, while 68% don’t understand what to do with the business metrics they receive.

“The chief digital officer will be looking at what are the right business metrics to be tracking for that business and be working with data officers to get the right innovation,” Knudsen said. This gives the company insight into if its digital investments are performing as expected and enables course correction if digitization efforts are not achieving their goals.

While hiring a CDO can bring immense value to a company, filling the role isn’t easy. The position is extremely demanding, requiring not only technical and business knowledge, but the ability to create rapport across an organization and overcome resistance from executives reluctant to adopt new methods of work. These attributes can be hard to match.

“The problem is going to be finding the people with those dual skill sets. Because you’re going to need somebody that can understand your business and your technology side to marry the two together,” Knudsen said. “It’s looking at the entire organization both internally and externally and looking at the strategy for how do you accomplish [digital transformation] and how do you truly make your organization as effective as it can be.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the Chaos to Clarity: BizOps for Digital Transformation event. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for the Chaos to Clarity: BizOps for Digital Transformation event. Neither the BizOps Coalition, the sponsor for theCUBE’s event coverage, nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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