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'Fearless digital leaders'

Annie Bricker | June 10, 2014
David Aron, Vice President, Gartner, talks about leadership, changes in the business and how to tackle the oncoming digital future.

I think it is because IT professionals in the region are focusing on fixing IT. Additionally, most people who might advise companies in the Gulf don't really know what they mean by the word digital. There is a lot of confusion. Digital strategy can take on so many forms, there just isn't a blueprint for how it should be done. I think people in this region are waiting for concrete advice as to how to move forward which may never come.

If we do begin taking on CDO roles in the Middle East, do you see some of the other C-Level positions phasing out or merging?

In the last 100 years there has been a lot of product and process innovation but hardly any management innovation. If you look at how management works, it is kind of the same as 100 years ago. We are still stuck in these traditional hierarchies and we desperately need management innovation. With all of the C-level roles, there are many that overlap and some that are becoming obsolete. It can really look like a mess, but I believe it is just a case of growing pains. I think that the Chief Digital Officer will be important in the interim. However, eventually, digital will just be a part of what we do and the role will be unnecessary, or rather, integrated into everyday business activities. I think we will see companies customise their C-roles. There is no reason that every company should have the same management roles. Of course there are some that will be necessary across companies--the CFO and the CEO for example--but each company needs different management leadership. I think it will be a mess for a while, but a mess is better than staying needlessly in these traditional roles that don't serve the business as well as they should.


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