More C-suites hire chief data officers to survive digital transformation
Fortune 100 companies are hiring C-suite members focused on data and digital expertise in record numbers, according to a study by Avado, a global digital education company. The study found that senior leadership positions (such as chief data officer) relating to "data, digital and transformation" have grown more than 289% since 2013, largely to prepare for what Avado calls the 4th Major Industrial Revolution.
Titles that have seen massive growth include chief learning officer (900% growth) and chief digital officer (867%). Chief data & analytics officer, chief innovation officer and chief transformation officer have also grown tremendously (500% each).
"The addition of digitally-focused leaders in the C-suite of these companies marks the start of a new era of senior leadership," Niall McKinney, Avado's global president, said in a statement. "However, today these leaders are not elevated to C-suite status in the majority of Fortune 100 companies and, despite its growth, only 6% of these businesses currently have a Chief Transformation Officer. Failure to adopt digital leadership positions will leave businesses unprepared for 2020."
As the digital transformation looms, C-suite leaders may need upskilling in order to lead their organizations as strategists and agenda setters — and hiring execs who prioritize that transformation can approach the issue. Laurie Zaucha, VP of human resources and organizational development at Paychex, previously told HR Dive what the consequences could be by not training the C-suite: "Executives who accept the status quo or who are averse to change will struggle to succeed in a technology-driven future of work," she said.
Bryan Hancock, a partner at McKinsey & Company, previously noted that a key part of leadership roles is facilitating innovation and growth by keeping both syncopated. "Instead of starting with last year's plan, managers need to start with a more strategic view and ask: What kind of talent and skills are we going to need to achieve the most critical initiatives?" he added. Part of that analysis could require expanding the C-suite with digital experts.
Preparing the entire workforce for the digital transformation presents an array of challenges for HR, which includes building trust. Learning and development programs angled for front-line employees that may be most displaced by the changes are key and will require leaders who are willing to see those programs through. A report from Information Services Group found that companies are looking to partner with other organizations for help them navigate the digital transformation, too. Among the areas of focus are customer journey mapping, agile software development and lean project management.