Enter The Chief Digital Officer (CDO)

The evolution of C-suites has been nothing if not responsive over the past decade. We’ve seen the emergence of the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) as each discipline has taken center stage in growth strategies. Now, as digital technology is set to enter the Gulf’s mainstream as a key competitiveness driver, the time is right for a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to join the executive suite.


Cobweb Solutions UAE’s own research shows that four out of every five CEOs and Presidents of major Gulf companies are planning to expand their digital footprint this year – but who will direct and drive the transformation? Enter the CDO.


Who Qualifies?

In seeking a suitable candidate, the CEO/President must first understand that a CDO’s responsibilities are not limited to simply introducing a few digital services but must encompass the entire remit of end-to-end transformation. This then requires a collaborative personality – someone who fully understands the business strategy, the needs of IT, HR, Sales, Marketing and Customer Services and can satisfy them all using digital technology and data analysis to align all efforts towards greater productivity, cost-effectiveness and competitiveness.

When it comes to getting the most out of your digital assets, no-one is an island and no business is exempt. The CDO post applies as much to the small guys as it does to the big boys – and in designing its digital transformation paths Cobweb has taken this into consideration with subscription solution services that are affordable for the SME. Take Cobweb Complete Finance, for instance. This cloud-based accounting solution is built around the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Plan with a financial add-on module, only available through Cobweb, which enables businesses to become VAT compliant. Its unique and powerful combination of the Customer Engagement Plan & the Cobweb Finance module gives SMEs a mini Enterprise Resource Plan that allows for an end-to-end digital transformation strategy. And, because it’s been developed specifically for SMEs, with payment made monthly, there is also no minimum Dynamics 365 license requirement – whereas, Microsoft stipulates a minimum purchase of 20.


The CDO will be capable of steering a comprehensive business transformation using cloud-based technology to empower employees, engage customers, optimize operations and business processes, and evolve products and services and this all means challenging previous, long-held fundamentals.


The change journey will follow four vital steps.


Step 1:  Optimizing operations


Businesses no longer need an isolated IT manager dictating what technology a company needs and how business processes must comply to preferred systems. Digital transformation means responsiveness, flexible working, business data security and increased competitiveness with ever faster speed to market today’s business goals and needs are foremost in technology selection. IT must build systems that cater to business needs for a digital era.  The new IT influencers are the people at the sharp end of the business – product developers, marketers, sales staff, customer relations and finance.  So, the CDO’s starting-point is an end-to-end analysis of the entire business and its forward-strategy. These insights will lead to the creation of a road map on what is to be achieved taking every scenario into consideration.  The road map is the masterplan from which each department can understand its priorities and from which progress can be tracked and monitored through the entire transformation cycle.


Step 2: Moving To The Cloud


One of the great things about moving to the cloud is that capital and human resource intensive in-house servers can become a thing of the past. The cloud creates previously unthinkable agility and security. The CDO’s task now is to determine, together with IT and the new influencers, precisely which infrastructure can be removed and what needs to stay on-premise.  The objective should be to let go of as much as possible and be free of time-consuming infrastructure management.  And the best news is that finance can be better allocated as new cloud resources can be bought and paid for on a sliding scale of actual consumption right down to the minute, or the hour.  This allows businesses greater flexibility and unlocks the ability to experiment with new ideas which weren’t possible with just physical resources.


The preference is likely to be to move infrastructure to the cloud to free up resources to focus on other business gains through digitization.


Step 3: Get Bang Up-To-Date

Once infrastructure is moved to the cloud, the CDO can focus efforts on modernizing applications.  This is where collaboration is essential. Line of business teams must be involved.  Areas of focus are likely to be: Development of a Modern Workplace which means the development or implementation of Apps to allow for flexible working with cloud-based security allowing for management peace-of-mind and the creation of employee-employer trust banks. In an era of talent scarcity, employees will head towards those companies that ensure they can use their time to the greatest productive advantage, which means flexible working to reduce unnecessary travel journeys and the facilitation of greater work-life balance. Other areas to be addressed are Business Applications, Apps & Infrastructure and Data & Artificial Intelligence.


All can be addressed through Cobweb Solutions built with the secure support of Microsoft Applications. Here’s how:

Enter the Digital Officer

Step 4: Ensure Buy-in


So, the solutions are in – you’re on the cloud but the CDO’s job’s not done. The CDO needs to gain full employee buy-in and that means training them to fully adopt the cloud and solutions deployed. Here again Cobweb Solutions UAE has the edge. We deliver worry-free cloud migration and on-boarding service. We won’t just sell you a solutions license and leave you to your own resources.

We provide clients with a direct support number to access its Microsoft-approved service and the incomparable service level agreements of Cobweb, one of Europe’s largest cloud solutions providers, a Cloud Industry Forum member, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner and the first provider in Europe to deliver Microsoft cloud services through the CSP program.  Cobweb now has 20 years’ experience of delivering cloud and professional and as a Direct CSP Reseller, it has 10 Microsoft competencies, including Gold Cloud Platform, Gold Cloud Productivity, and Gold Small & Midmarket Cloud Solutions. Cobweb has helped more than 6,000 businesses of all sizes move to the cloud and today has 200,000 users worldwide. Cobweb UAE clients can access a service which is backed up by UK support and advice 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.


Apart from staff training, we also assign a highly experienced personal account manager for each customer – someone to call direct for advice and follow-up support. There’s no going through touch-phone switchboards, speaking to a different person and having to repeat your story from the beginning.


So, in four steps the CDO has effected total digital transformation, which equates to business transformation, and progresses the journey through continually evaluating solutions to fit an ever-changing marketplace, particularly in the Gulf which is becoming an increasingly regulated environment.


With governments up and down the Gulf, particularly Dubai and the UAE, embracing digital transformation under its smart cities and smart environment policies, the real question is can you afford not to transform? Your CDO will be able to answer that question.


Start Your Journey Here:


Want to know more about the benefits of a CDO and the benefits of digital transformation? Please get in touch. Our Cloud Consultants will be happy to help:


Cobweb Solutions UAE


Tel #: +971 – 4 - 427 – 2420