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CDOs more likely to report to the CEO than to the CIO

While more CIOs than ever are reporting into the CEO – rather than a chief financial officer or a chief operating officer (COO) – they are increasingly having to compete with chief digital officers for influence over IT policy. 

According to recruitment firm Harvey Nash and KPMG, chief digital officers (CDOs) are twice as likely to report to the CEO than to the chief information officer (CIO). The claim is based on a survey conducted by the two companies. 

The 2016 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey found that 46 per cent of CDOs report to the CEO, while only 21 per cent report to the CIO.

Much of the difference is based on IT budget size. CDOs in organisations with an IT budget of more than $250m are slightly more likely to report to the CIO (32 per cent) than they are to the CEO (29 per cent).

But 49 per cent of CDOs at firms with an IT budget of less than $100m report to the CEO, and just 19 per cent report to the CIO.

CDOs at companies with IT budgets of $100m to $250m are more likely to report to the CEO (45 per cent) than the CIO (27 per cent).

COOs are the third most likely reporting line for CDOs for all sizes of companies, followed by the chief marketing officer and the chief financial officer respectively.

Other key findings
The CDO role continues to grow, but hasn’t maintained the pace seen in the 2015 survey, which showed a seven per cent rise to 17 per cent. Some 19 per cent of organisations now employ a CDO.

Broken down by sector, 43 per cent of advertising organisations have a CDO, which is more than twice the global average of 19 per cent.

Other industries with more than the global average are broadcast and media (30 per cent), pharmaceuticals (27 per cent), financial services (25 per cent), government (24 per cent), charities (20 per cent), professional services (20 per cent) and retail (21 per cent).

Only 19 per cent of technology firms have a CDO. The report suggested that these companies have more people in technical and digital roles who can undertake some CDO duties.

There has been much debate as to whether organisations actually need a CDO. Transport for London CIO Steve Townsend said in February that companies should swap a CIO for a CDO only if they can’t change the way IT projects operate.

Harvey Nash surveyed 3,352 CIOs and technology leaders in 82 countries between December 2015 and April 2016.

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