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How to tell if your company needs a chief digital officer

Rich Hein | July 7, 2016
Transforming your business to a digital operation requires a dedicated professional who thrives as a change agent, a.k.a., a chief digital officer. Here's how to determine whether or not your organization can benefit from another executive in the new C-suite.

Evolution of the CDO role at McGraw-Hill

When McGraw-Hill hired Laster, there weren't a lot of preconceived notions about what the new role should be, he says. Laster started as a team of one and had to quickly ramp up, which involved finding the right talent — internally and elsewhere — to build the necessary software. He focused on learning as much as possible about the organization, and then put in some governance policies that were necessary for him to construct a unified roadmap. Next, Laster started to build a strategic architecture for his platform and product development.

Four years later, McGraw-Hill's CDO runs a department that has more than 500 workers and freelancers, all focused on building the digital products and services the company's clients need. "My biggest challenge is helping both our customers and the folks within McGraw-Hill understand this beautiful apex of the art of what's possible with technology overlaid with what can authentically be used in a teaching moment." Laster says.


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