Sondergaard believes these roles are sometimes transient, or a way of defining a specific additional focus for an existing senior leader.
“Either way, the title acts as a rallying flag within the organisation for all these initiatives to coalesce in one place,” he adds.
“And rather than own a specific new initiative, which inevitably causes friction within the C-suite, the most successful executives instead focus on coordinating the multitude of activities and direct efforts in one coherent direction.”
It’s all about focus
With 2015 already one month down, Sondergaard advises that CEOs need to task the DRO to investigate the risk implications of digital innovation and the level of risk that is acceptable across the organisation in a world of increasing digitalisation of both physical and virtual assets and processes.
“The assessment of risk needs to span the digital business from one end to the other, not in isolated pockets such as products, business units or traditional channels,” he advises. “It must be across the entire process to be successful.”
To be successful, Sondergaard claims the DRO needs a deep level of understanding of the Internet of things (IoT), operational technology (OT), physical security, information security, privacy, business continuity management and risk.
“The DRO needs to understand the entire digital platform of the organisation,” he says. “In many organisations the CISO may assume these expanded responsibilities, but may not continue to report to the CIO.”
Digital risk and security is only one of several capabilities that CEOs need to re-evaluate, according to Sondergaard, who advises that they should assume accountability for and then assign specific responsibility for to a leader within their organisation.
“Digital business requires an added set of capabilities as a CEO,” Sondergaard adds.
Gartner believes the rapid digital change around us leaves every CEO with only 24 months to develop a digital strategy, reassign and/or expand corporate responsibilities and start executing change.
“It’s clear that the size of the challenge does not match the number of professionals who are qualified to help, which creates a high price for this scarce competence,” Sondergaard warns.
“So there’s no time to lose. Is this on your all-day meeting agenda?”