What does a Chief Digital Officer do? | #ibmwow

10.25.16 Baum

CDO is generally understood to stand for Chief Data Officer, but that isn’t how the Schaeffler Group sees it. Instead CDO stands for Chief Digital Officer. What’s the difference?

“Data is the raw material. Digital is the additional value you create with data, … Digital means you bring both the data and mechanics together,” said Gerhard Baum, chief digital officer at the Schaeffler Group. As a growing technology company in 150 countries and 87,000 employees, over 30,000 of which are engineers, the Schaeffler Group may well be on to something.

Baum was interviewed by Dave Vellante (@dvellante), host of theCUBE*, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during IBM World of Watson 2016 in Las Vegas, NV.


The Schaeffler Group mainly deals with the automotive industry, but also with the train, wind and other industries. With other industries they mainly deal with components, but as the automotive industry moves into the realm of autonomous cars, the Schaeffler Group is following, full speed ahead.

From advancements in microsensors to big data, from increased computational power to machine learning, it’s easy to see that a technological revolution is well underway. “We’re where the heat is, where the forces move … providing functionalities that will be enhanced. It’s a high-value chain,” said Baum.

Steps to establish a new project

As the chief digital officer, Baum has been working on a multitude of projects with a variety of maturity levels. When approaching a new project, he said he has a system. First is a look inwards, to see what sort of experience they already have. Then is a look outwards to see what the need is. Finally, they create a roadmap.

After a roadmap is established, Baum talks to different businesses to convince them of the potential of the project. Together they set up a project, and sometimes the business they approach is so intrigued by a project, they fund it entirely. With all that the Schaeffler Group is working on and the direction the automotive industry is headed in, there is a lot to be excited about, Baum said.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of IBM World of Watson 2016.

*Disclosure: IBM and other companies sponsor some IBM World of Watson segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE. Neither IBM nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.

Photo by SiliconANGLE