CDO and CIO: Partners in Digital Transformation

Kevin Bandy, SVP and Chief Digital Officer, Cisco

We recently hosted the largest Cisco Live! ever, with more than 28,000 attendees on hand in Las Vegas. The theme was digital transformation. We focused on how Cisco’s latest innovations and acquisitions help customers use the network to reimagine how work gets done. The rules of business are being re-written from the network out, touching everything companies do.

To meet the demands of the digital era, Cisco is transforming from a company that primarily sold hardware products to one that allows customers to choose how they consume the breadth of our integrated offerings. This transformation requires alignment across the business, including sales, finance, service, engineering, and operations in all regions.

As I met with leaders from Cisco’s largest customers, I was asked a question I get routinely: Who owns digital transformation, the CIO or the CDO? IT does the technical work from the network architecture to the applications, so should the CIO own it? Or, should the CIO focus on the enabling digital technologies, leaving “transformation” to the CDO?

My experience tells me the answer isn’t the CIO or the CDO – it’s both working in unison toward a common digitization goal. I truly believe the partnership I have with our CIO, Guillermo Diaz, is a model that can benefit other organizations.

As CDO, I listen to the market to understand how Cisco needs to evolve its business to meet the changing demands of our customers. Partnering with executive leadership across the company, I am fundamentally reengineering our business processes, policies, and nearly every aspect of our business to execute in a timely manner. Guillermo, as our CIO, decides the best way to adapt Cisco’s enterprise IT architecture, technology strategy, and IT services to support the new business strategy. Neither Guillermo nor I can drive digital transformation alone.

This partnership simplifies what could be a very messy and complicated process, allowing Cisco to move quickly and stay ahead of market demands and capitalize on emerging opportunities. I encourage other companies to follow our lead.

How is your company organized to achieve your digital transformation goals? Let me know your thoughts.


Keywords: CIO, IT, CDO, chief digital officer, Cisco Digitization Office, digital, digitization, transformation, digital transformation, network, business process, Cisco Live!


Kevin Bandy

No Longer with Cisco