What is the ROI of having a Chief Digital Officer (CDO)?

I have a question: can you point me to any info/articles showing the ROI for large (ideally global) companies having a Chief Digital Officer? ROI could be increased revenues or profits of course, or even NPS or other qualitative metric.

One of my MBA students is researching this and I immediately thought of you! Any help greatly appreciated! (By the way, I read your article analysing the ROI for Digital firms with much interest, but this is slightly different. Pitfalls of having a CDO also important too of course..)

Starbucks may be our answer

Adam Brotman is Starbuck’s CDO and I think he provides great evidence for the good results that CDOs can produce (see more on this at Econsultancy).

To take a better look we need to compare Starbucks’ ROI against some competitors. In this case I’ve chosen a selection of US cafe and restaurant chains:

ROI of Starbucks and competitor firms
ROI of Starbucks and competitor firms

Interestingly the only firm with a better ROI is Domino’s (see more on omnichannel pizza) who have a US nominated CDO (Dennis Maloney) and an Australian one too (Michael Gillespie). Both Domino’s and Starbucks are well ahead of the average ROI in this case.

I wouldn’t conclude from this limited exercise that having a CDO gives a better ROI but I do think it provides a starting point to find a list of public firms with a CDO and compare the ROI (and potentially other measures) to provide more evidence. Google Finance can easily be used to get data on ROI.

List of further articles on the topic of CDOs (although none quite answering your specific requirements):

If you have a question on digital strategy and transformation, send it to me through the contact page.

David Sealey is a trusted adviser to senior executives on getting the most from their investment in digital and data. David created Storm81 as a place to share his passion for business, digital technologies, multichannel marketing and everything else around these topics.

More about David Sealey

Follow me on Twitter
Connect with me on LinkedIn