McKinsey Digital's Southeast Asia co-lead speaks at CDO Summit in Singapore

01 May 2019 3 min. read
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Every C-Suite need a digital evangelist, McKinsey Digital’s co-leader for Southeast Asia Sachin Chitturu has declared at the recent CDO Summit in Singapore.

Hosted by CDO Trends – a platform geared toward chief digital officers and other business leaders in Asia – the CDO Summit Asia 2019 conference at the Marina Mandarin in Singapore featured a number of industry speakers and panelists; among them, Sachin Chitturu, McKinsey partner and co-lead of the firm’s McKinsey Digital practice in Southeast Asia, who delivered an address on the role of the modern CDO.

Chitturu’s keynote, ‘With Great (Digital) Power Comes Great (Business) Responsibility’, explored the emergence of the Chief Digital Officer in the crowded C-Suite and the many attendant responsibilities that have traditionally belonged to other roles, highlighting how transforming digital resources into business impact requires everyone else in the C-Suite to be on board in future-proofing the business.

According to surveys by McKinsey, cited by Chitturu, 90 percent of CEOs consider digital as important, yet only 15 percent say that digital transformations have been impactful. “Many companies see digital transformation as a shiny new thing. They did not understand that it is fundamentally the transformation of their business,” Chitturu stated, adding; “By the time, they realise this, it is already too late.”McKinsey Digital's Southeast Asia co-lead speaks at CDO Summit in SingaporeBacking this claim, Chitturu points to a further McKinsey finding that 80 percent of companies with digital strategies have them separate from their corporate strategies – a failure to integrate and the lack of a collaborative culture between local digital teams and business functions noted in a previous McKinsey digital maturity report as not uncommon to both the emerging and developed markets of Asia.

“Companies can’t do digital on the margins,” the report stated. “A digital transformation requires a wholehearted commitment from a company’s leadership, sustained investment in people, capabilities and technology, and the creation of a new company culture.” Chitturu furthers this point, telling the CDO Summit attendees, “Digital needs to part of the core strategy. Else, you are only doing experiments.”

He continues; “What you need is a digital evangelist in the C-Suite.” Yet, while indispensable, there needs to be buy-in and a coordinated effort from the executive team. “There is no space for individual heavy hitters or rock stars. Because a single person cannot do the entire job. Instead, they need to be team players,” said Chitturu, noting that successful digital transformations have seen CDO’s guiding the C-suite like in an agile fashion – a big shift in mindset for many.

Based in the firm’s Singapore office, Chitturu – who has worked extensively with Telecom and Technology players across Southeast Asia, Australia and Hong Kong – has been with McKinsey for nearly the past eight years following a MBA in finance with the London Business School, initially starting out as an associate analysist with Deloitte in Mumbai. McKinsey, meanwhile, now performs half of its work in areas such as design, digital, and analytics, and recently underwent its own make-over for the digital consulting era.