The Gartner chief analyst Peter Sondergaard is revising what he said four years ago at the symposium about the position of Chief Digital Officer.

As soon as the first companies started to create the position of CDO, Peter Sondergaard started to revise his position.

During the Gartner symposium in Barcelona he points to an important sub clause in his recommendation: „Yes, four years ago I said in my keynote address that we need a CDO. I also said that this is a temporary position“. The CEO cannot delegate digitalization and then continue as before. „The CDO cannot be more than a CEO whip“, says the chief analyst. “The role needs to disappear again. The CEO is the CDO!“

According to Sondergaard it is useful to be the whip. Temporary staff positions are also useful because long established departments would not appreciate the advantages of digitalization. Sondergaard names two departments in particular: „HR is a problem – a yearly review for a developer is insufficient. And Finance is a problem – quarterly reports are not enough. We have to shift from capital management to OPEX management“.

Gartner recommends the „New Digital Platform“. In this model CIOs concentrate their efforts on „intelligence“. Sondergaard distinguishes between three types of intelligence: a) data intelligence – the traditional analysis, studying Big Data and deriving hypotheses from data; b) programming intelligence – the systematic access to large amounts of data where algorithms automate pattern recognition; c) artificial intelligence – machines do the work.

“Last year at the symposium people told us that we were too far ahead with our predictions about algorithms‘, recounts Sondergaard. “But the Big Data approach has almost vanished over the past six months. It’s not the data, it’s the intelligence behind it”.

The technology is here, stresses Sondergaard. Even quantum computers are getting cheaper. Sondergaard has seen first applications in genome analysis and the defense sector. The limiting factor is human ability. ”When you bring Watson into the enterprise, it will not work immediately. That was true for us“, says Sondergaard.

Gartner tried the IBM artificial intelligence system to analyze its own content. But the system first has to be trained. This is a task for humans and they need to know how to do it. „Every consulting firm needs to first use artificial intelligence and not just write about it”, says Sondergaard.