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How CIOs, CDOs and CEOs can develop their company’s digital dream team

With technology central to all business models, a new generation of leaders with a mindset for digital innovation is emerging.

In brief

  • It takes collaboration across the entire c-suite, from CEO, CDO, COO to CIO, to infuse emerging technologies into how the business operates.
  • Digital-first technology leaders are business model and ecosystem thinkers, experience designers and relationship builders. 

Successful digital transformation is good for business: Organizations whose tech-enabled transformations exceed their goals forecast demonstrate higher average revenue growth than organizations whose efforts are falling short of expectations, according to a study by Ernst & Young LLP.


Turning investments into positive business outcomes doesn’t always follow a straight line. CIOs leading these efforts must navigate a changing business landscape and a variety of business stakeholders with different agendas. CIOs may find themselves paired up with chief digital officers (CDOs), who are often given remit to define, incubate and deploy innovative digital initiatives.

The CDO and CIO roles are converging because the role of technology itself has been elevated.

Technology leadership is becoming less about titles and organizations structures and more about aligning across the business to match technology needs with business outcomes. The CDO and CIO roles are converging because the role of technology itself has been elevated. These individuals are becoming more business-oriented and entrepreneurial, and they’re strategically thinking like a CEO or COO. That means the senior technology leader’s shifting role – regardless of whether their title is CIO, CDO, or something else – now involves integrating business and technology strategies. CIOs have asked for a seat at the table, and now that they have it, they need something to say. The most successful individuals are the ones with the acumen to articulate a compelling vision to the rest of the organization. Technology “thought leaders” can be defined by four key attributes:

Building your digital foundation

These attributes are the start of your digital dream team. Organizations should build on them by developing leaders at all levels including:

  1. CxO leadership: Senior-most business and technology strategists
  2. Portfolio leadership: Deep technologists who can help create a sustainable technology stack that moves at speed using services such as hybrid cloud, microservices, and automation
  3. Delivery leadership: People with deep experience driving large-scale systems development and integration

The idea is to grow more leaders with the right attributes to succeed in this new world where technology is at the center of business. It may take a few years for this dream team to come to fruition. But once it does, this new generation of leaders will be able to rapidly identify and translate trends into actionable business strategy.


At the end of the day, success depends on increased collaboration among the technology organization, business unit leaders, and functional leaders so that you’re infusing technology into everything you do.

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