Chief Digital Officer (CDO) definition

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Careers in information technology: A CIO guide to getting ahead in IT
Contributor(s): Emily McLaughlin

A chief digital officer (CDO) is a C-level executive charged with helping a business transform its traditional information technology (IT) policies. 

Unlike the chief information officer (CIO), a company's chief digital officer focuses less on running infrastructure and more on creating the procedures required to manage that infrastructure. CDOs typically do not make large-scale technology purchasing decisions; rather, they are enlisted to break up siloed functions within an organization to accommodate new technologies and plan strategies for how to use them most effectively.

CDO responsibilities include:

  • Creating and executing social strategies that grow brand loyalty on social networks
  • Determining key influencers and empowering those individuals with tools to promote branding and corporate messages.
  • Developing new revenue streams.
  • Keeping up with the latest IT innovations in order to maintain a fresh digital strategy.
  • Using data to explain how the IT department contributes to an organization's ROI.



This was first published in February 2014

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