5 Qualities to look for in a CPO: Enabling digital transformation

March 22, 2023

As straight forward as it has become, digital transformation still demands the collective efforts of a company’s leadership and all of its workforces in order to succeed. Depending on the product or service itself as well as the size of the company, the process stands a fair chance of turning into a long and arduous quagmire that organizations would prefer to avoid.

But should the company have within its ranks a Chief Product Officer (CPO), the process can be significantly less stressful and time-consuming.

What is a CPO?

A Chief Product Officer commonly referred to as CPO, is one of the visionary and strategic leaders within the company. They play the role of team supervisor as per their duties to develop the company's product so that it may deliver improved value to customers.

They are the customer’s advocate, and their ultimate goal is to find new ways to further enhance the user’s experience by introducing certain changes to the product or service. These changes can vary from altering the product itself to revolutionizing the company’s internal processes in terms of day-to-day operations.

This makes the CPO an indispensable pillar of digital transformation, as their insights regarding the end-user set the stage for every technological change the company introduces both internally and externally.

Beyond that, a CPO’s responsibilities include devising the product strategy, managing the product design, generating buy-in, conducting customer research, and overseeing the product’s development and growth.

How does a CPO contribute to digital transformation?

The very goal of introducing digital transformation is to ensure that all processes with the potential to be streamlined through digital technology are improved as much as possible. This is done so that customer experiences are continuously enhanced, which in turn leads to more brand awareness, incoming leads, and increased revenue.

From a strategic point of view, it makes sense for the CPO to be the first officer enabling digital transformation. It begins with the customers and their needs. Just as they are the end goal, they are also the beginning. They are the data necessary to outline the entire process.

But the CPO cannot drive digital transformation alone. In this regard, they work closely with the company’s CTO (Chief Technology Officer) to define an actionable strategy. These roles are the two sides of the digital transformation coin.

Simply put, the CPO’s focus should be on the “why” of it all, while the CTO focuses on the technology and the “how” of the strategy itself. Together, they are able to set down goals that benefit both the company and its clients, as well as identify technology to reach them.

In this article, we’ll be going through the qualities to look for in a CPO when digital transformation is in your not-so-distant future.

1- Leadership skills

This is a constant quality for all C-level executives. As they manage and oversee product development, the CPO needs to be the link ensuring that processes are optimized across the board for customers, the workforce, and stakeholders.

For this role, leadership skills enable the CPO to facilitate and coordinate communication between the various internal departments. They are the deterrent for organizational silos and are responsible for orienting team leads in different roles. As such leadership skills, as well as experience concurrently managing multiple teams, are a must.

2- Strategic vision

Developing a vision for the product is one of the CPO’s main duties. They’re the leader who possesses unique awareness of the product in terms of customer experience and room for internal improvement.

It falls to the CPO to identify why change is needed and what steps must be taken to make it happen. However, beyond the short term development plan, a comprehensive long term vision of the product’s journey is key to a CPO’s success.

3- Awareness of client needs and preferences

It’s important for the entire team to understand the user’s experience as well as their needs and preferences. It’s essential for a CPO to conduct regular research on customer behavior in order to facilitate improvement in product experiences and the company’s standing within its niche.

4- Data-driven mindset

All notions of change, be it digital transformation, product alterations, or improving internal processes must be data-driven.

It makes no sense to affect change on any scale without the data to justify it. As such, a CPO’s goal is to accrue as much relevant information as possible in order to define which direction to take. As far as the CPO is concerned, this doesn't just relate to the customer. In fact, a chief product officer would place emphasis on revenue, profit, retention, customer engagement, and user behavior.

Though invaluable to a company’s long term vision, the CPO plays a vital and unique role in enabling digital transformation. They are the source providing the strategy as well as the data to justify it. When paired with CTO involvement, a company stands to succeed in implementing digital change when it would have otherwise failed.

But digital transformation is somewhat of a complicated process that requires a certain affinity for technology-based change as well as experience introducing company-wide changes. Organizations with digital transformation on the horizon need to consider hiring the right CPO in order to generate the right results.

At JB Hired, we prioritize experience and knowledge of practical digital transformative when sourcing CPO candidates. In fact, we acquire candidates whose profile, previous experience, and focus connect directly to the company’s needs.

With a global network of established professionals from Silicon Valley, global tech hubs, and the fastest-growing digital markets, we match the right CPO  talent with companies in which they can thrive and affect the most positive change.

In case you’re looking for qualified talent to help you on this aspect, get in touch with JB Hired and source the talent your digital transformation needs!