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Who Drives Digital Transformation? CMO, CIO, CEO, or All of Them?

Techsense team I 8:01 pm, 27th October

CIOs take the lead in most companies

According to a Tata Consultancy Services survey, 58% of the CIOs interviewed said digital transformation fell under their leadership. Six of 10 CIOs said they assumed leadership roles in governing digital transformation strategies. But are all CIOs up for the challenge?

CIOs indeed understand technology because they own the IT strategy within their organizations. They are also responsible for thinking about the best use of technology and information to drive more revenue and open more markets. But digital transformation is not merely about technology. It is to a large extent about business.

As well as that, CIOs often have a traditional approach of being sticklers to budgets, policies, and processes. Unless there is a positive attitude toward change, companies won’t witness the results they hope to achieve.

CMOs understand the power of digital media

CMOs might seem like the ideal candidates because they have been at the forefront of online activities for over two decades. However, CMOs tend to view the business from a marketing perspective.

CMOs would be the ideal candidate to lead the digital events during digital transformation, but unless they have broader management skills, they won’t be able to shape digital transformation.

CEOs control the money

According to the same survey mentioned above, 35% of CEOs said they set the budget for digital transformation (29% of CFOs and 18% of CIOs are responsible for setting digital transformation budgets).

Chief digital officer - a new brand of leadership

According to U.S. CIO program research leader at Deloitte, Khalid Kark, many companies are beginning to rely on a chief digital officer (CDO). Someone who typically comes from the business and understands and has knowledge of how to monetize it in the business context.


There is no single solution. In many organizations, it’s not just one person in charge. The responsibility is shared with the organization’s digital, innovation, technology, and data chiefs.

Digital leadership – whether it’s a single person or a group of people – must create a transformative vision and make that vision a reality.

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