Where Are The Digital Chiefs?

Published on June 15, 2015 by Handelsblatt7-formatOriginal

The digital revolution massively affects companies and SMEs. But while there are around 1,000 Chief Digital Officers worldwide, in Germany they are still an exception. Only at one out of three DAX companies, and only at one in seven MDAX companies, digitization is in the hands of a senior manager, according to a survey by HR consultancy Heidrick & Struggles.

SAP Chief Digital Officer, Jonathan Becher, does not sit on the company’s board, but reports directly to SAP CEO Bill McDermott. He leads the digital restructuring of the software company. Becher has founded three start-ups and has then been Chief Marketing Officer at SAP for four years. His credo: “I’m trying to spread the Silicon Valley’s digital spirit. Tackle, try and implement ideas”. According to Becher, SAP is a company that offers digital products, but some processes and ways of thinking have been far from being digital so far. SAP’s orders were, for example, still handled via paper or directly in person. Becher is now going to change that – step by step. For Wiebke Köhler, Partner of Heidrick & Struggles, the lack of bundled responsibility at board level is a sign that the digital challenge has not yet arrived in the boardrooms of German companies. “There is no silver bullet for digitalization. One digital chief alone cannot shape the transformation. The nature of the decision, the rate of innovation processes, governance structures, and the corporate culture must change,” Köhler emphasized. (Original in German)

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