The increasing business integration of digital technologies is leading to greater differentiation of executive roles to co-lead transformations with their executive colleagues.

A key area of current demand is for executives experienced in digital transformation, particularly for business-savvy Chief Technology Officers, Chief Digital Officers and Chief Information Officers. The titles vary, but we are focused on C-suite executives and direct reports to the CEO in organizations with a significant change agenda. Competitive pressures and customer expectations can drive that agenda, or a desire to lead, or at a minimum, be on par with industry expectations.

Today these agendas tend to rely on the shaping and implementation of significant technology investments and the enhanced use of data and business intelligence. Alongside technology investments, and integral to gaining business value, is the concurrent investment in reworking business and operating models, overhauling or streamlining processes, and the critical shift or uplift in people's capabilities.

The Nature of Business Experience and Expertise Matter more than Technology Experience

In the executive searches for these business-savvy technology executives, we realized that even though the position briefs can look similar, there might be absolutely no overlap in their candidate pools.

Our learning is as digital and technology developments grow increasingly integral to organizations, it is the nature of the business and its transformation challenge, the totality of a candidate’s experience, and the kind of transformation experience candidates have driven that is the most important. Just finding candidates with excellent knowledge in business technology and a digital background is not enough.

We illustrate with three organizations, each in different industries, where each organization was consumer-facing with a strong loyalty base amongst their customers. The first search was for an insurance company, the second in healthcare, and the third provided scientifically based services to businesses and consumers. Each client had particular requirements, and all were value-based organizations where cultural fit mattered a great deal, required a strong understanding of technology and the digital space, and a high amount of business knowledge. Each role was a direct report to the CEO. The functions had similar titles, and for this paper, we will refer to them as Group Executives Technology and Digital.

 

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