Does Your Association Need a Chief Digital Officer?

Ashley Neal

November 17, 2021

Does Your Association Need a Chief Digital Officer?

Since the popularity of digital transformation, innovation and culture shift has increased since the COVID-19 pandemic started, many organizations and associations have been looking for a more permanent way to prioritize these trends.

Hiring a Chief Digital Officer seems to be the popular choice. In fact, “The 2021 Gartner Board of Directors survey found that 69% of boards of directors have accelerated their digital business initiatives in response to COVID-19 disruption and are moving faster now than before the pandemic began.”

As the new year approaches, consider discussing the addition of a Chief Digital Officer to your association’s board or staff. Having someone step into this role will not only help to organize your association’s digital presence but also create a clear proposal for innovation in the future.

Who Is a Chief Digital Officer?

As explained by The Leadership Network, a Chief Digital Officer is “a C-level executive whose main role is to drive growth and strategic renewal by transforming an organization’s traditional analog businesses into digital ones, with a special focus on creating new value through the smart use of digital tools, platforms, technologies, services, and processes.”

What Do They Do?

So basically, a CDO is someone whose main focus is the technological innovation of your organization. Spearheading any strategic plans, new tech procedures, digital transformation initiatives or other things like new business models helps a CDO keep their organization prepared for the future and successfully growing as a whole.

The Leadership Network also shared some key responsibilities that Chief Digital Officers could spearhead for your association such as:

  • Working with HR to recruit and retain digitally savvy talent builds the digital capabilities across the company
  • Growing an internal and external digital innovation ecosystem
  • Brainstorming and executing new platforms or procedures 
  • Creating a digital strategy 

These are all ways in which a Chief Digital Officer can make a real difference at an association. Essentially, they are responsible for helping associations and organizations move forward into a predominantly digital landscape.  

Why is a Chief Digital Officer important?

Having someone solely dedicated to the growth and development of your organization’s digital transformation will not only help to quickly grow your business but will also allow your organization to take risks that it might not have otherwise taken.

“CDOs have the digital aptitude to create a more enjoyable, seamless digital experience for organizations,” writes SmartBrief. “Their unique and specialized skill set can speed up the transition and help your organization recoup its investment more rapidly.”

These specialized skills are invaluable to an organization or association, explains Forbes contributor Lisa Arthur.

“CDOs are digital-savvy, business-driven leaders who have what it takes to transform traditional businesses into data-driven companies,” she writes. “They combine marketing and management experience with technical know-how and strategic vision to align and improve business operations across the enterprise.”

Moving Forward

As organizations plan for the future, understanding the needs of modern members is essential. Adding a Chief Digital Officer not only prioritizes digital transformation but also ensures that members have access to your content. It can also help your organization remain nimble in changing times while creating a platform to grow your audience and membership online. 

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Ashley Neal

Ashley Neal joined the Sidecar team as Community Coordinator in March of 2020, right as the COVID-19 pandemic began to shut down life as we knew it. Having to adapt, overcome and predict the changes needed to survive in the new normal, Ashley now has the skills needed to juggle any obstacle thrown her way. A soon-to-be graduate from Southeastern Louisiana University in the field of Strategic Communications, Ashley spends her days balancing her work and education with her love of dogs. Taking her three dogs — Scooby, Pipsqueak and Moose — to restaurants, hiking trails, vacations and even participating in dog shows and sports is the highlight of her weekends.

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