The New CXO - Data, Digital, Tech, Info & Marketing – What’s the Difference?
Defining individual roles within the C-suite has forever remained challenging. In the last few years the distinction between the C level roles has become even narrower with the introduction of new titles such as CDO (Digital) and CDO (Data) into the mix.
The traditional C level positions namely CEO, COO and CFO have usually dealt with overseeing general business strategy, however, the new candidates, and I am adding the CMO (Marketing) into this bucket, are navigating the progressively intricate technology, digital and data components of the planet’s biggest conglomerates. As a result, these positions often intersect. It is therefore important to recognize the differences between the various positions so that companies are able to effectively allocate and manage responsibilities in an era of mounting technological and consumer demand.
Keeping aside the conventional three C-level roles I am often asked what the difference is between a CIO, CTO, CMO and now the two CDOs (Digital & Data). Obviously not all companies have all of these positions, and who they hire usually depends on where the companies are in their evolution and how profoundly they’d like to disrupt, adapt and embrace new paradigms so that they are ready for the next big thing, or maybe even become the next big thing.
The trend lately has been to either bucket responsibilities of technology, data and digital within existing C Level or Executive Level positions (not a good idea), or have separate executives each with a defined role. The roles will depend on the size and type of company with the larger ones likely having all these C level positions while the smaller concerns sharing the functions amongst the three traditional positions they may already have.
Let’s start by examining the two obvious ones – the CTO and CIO, both of which tend to blend into one another in some form. In fact many consider them to be one and the same thing. In some companies, one function reports to the other. In others they are kept separate but often seen meddling into each other's business. In fact with the Chief DataOfficer thrown into the mix, one starts to wonder if there is any difference between the role that deals with "information" versus one that deals with "data"?
The primary difference between the CIO and CTO roles is that of internal versus external facing functions as well as on bottom line versus top line growth respectively.