Digital is the number one disrupting factor facing business today, argues Constellation Research analyst Peter Kim in a new report.

Technology is moving so quickly that it’s transcending just about every other factor that a business must take into consideration – political, economic, societal, and legal. Yet at most organizations there’s no one ultimately responsible for managing that digital disruption. In most companies, that task is being split between two stakeholders, Kim argues – the CIO and the CMO.

While the CIO must respond to digital disruption by creating policies that protect company data and upgrade systems to deliver expected business capabilities, the CMO must respond to that same disruption by marketing a company’s brand in new ways that include two-way communications at scale, and meet a higher expectation of customer engagement. The resulting difference in priorities create a sort of stalemate of what can seem like oppositional goals. But there’s a way to overcome that impasse by creating a new executive position – the chief digital officer.


Kim makes the case for the CDO in this report, saying this new executive would be responsible for creating a digital strategy that fits a company’s business model. They must also put programs into action to identify new ways a company can create value in the digital environment and manage the transformation within the organization. Of course, the CDO role needs to be tailored for the company’s specific industry.

It all sounds good, but where is a company supposed to get started down the path of creating this role and kicking off its digital transformation? Constellation Research spoke with 50 organizations doing just that over the past year and Kim is sharing some of the learnings in this report. He’s identified five steps towards digital transformation:

Five steps to digital transformation. Courtesy of Constellation Research.
Five steps to digital transformation. Courtesy of Constellation Research.
  1. Designing new experiences and business models.
  2. Develop a culture of digital DNA.
  3. Applying new technologies to existing infrastructure.
  4. Move from gut- to data-driven decisions.
  5. Co-creating and co-innovating with new partners.

Download the whole report to read more details about those steps (it’s free) and learn more about how to customize a CDO role for your company.