CDO as a service – the real local GDS?


Emerging technologies and new ways of working bring with them new jobs, and new roles. One of those is the ‘chief digital officer’ or CDO.

I’ve always been an advocate of organisations having a senior member of staff who has the clout to be able to push through digital transformation and the necessary culture change. A CDO could well be that person.

However, for many smaller organisations – take district councils, say, or mid sized charities – who nonetheless have the scale in terms of service delivery to need the skills of such a person, might not be able to afford one. So what do they do?

In conversation with Adrian Hancock from SOCITM earlier this week, we discussed the potential for a shared chief digital officer between a group of organisations – around four probably being the maximum.

Each organisation would use a common framework and process for managing the digital shift and transformation. The outcomes in each may differ, of course, but the underlying process would be the same – making the CDO’s life easier but also enabling the partnering organisations to benefit from shared experience and sharing other resources, human and otherwise.

This then could form what the “local government GDS” should be. Local centres of good practice centred around a leader in the local digital space, with shared platforms, code bases, processes, services and people.

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?