CMOs are nearly twice as likely as CIOs to lead digital transformation efforts within their organizations, according to new research from Altimeter Group. The top three transformative initiatives — accelerating innovation, modernizing IT infrastructure and improving operational agility — typically fall under the responsibility of IT, but a disconnect exists between the trends driving change and the individuals who lead the efforts, according to Brian Solis, principal analyst at the research and advisory firm.
CIOs are more likely sit on the sidelines, because their agendas are already full, he says. When CIOs join an organization there's usually a backlog of demanding projects they need to take over, according to Solis. "There's an aspect of being in IT that is always looking in the past, or at least working in the past," he says. Conversely, CMOs "live and die by how successful they are in reaching new customers, driving sales and conversions."
Altimeter says its research is based on interviews and survey data from 528 digital transformation leaders and strategists. CMOs lead digital transformation initiatives at 34 percent of the companies surveyed, followed by CEOs (27 percent), CIOs or CTOs (19 percent), and chief digital officers (15 percent), according to the report.