According to a study by IT management solutions provider, CA Technologies, 47 per cent of Australian senior leaders agree that the role of chief digital officer (CDO) is growing in importance to their business, a trend likely to trigger a transition of the technology-based roles of the chief information officer (CIO).

The 'Digital Enterprise: The role of the CDO' report, which surveyed 100 local C-level executives of organisations with more than 100 employees, noted around 45 per cent of organisations currently have a CDO, with 14 per cent expecting to fill the position within the "next few years."

Of those without a CDO, 37 per cent feel the impact is a lack of responsiveness, leading to the company being slower to market. Nineteen per cent claimed "missed business and investment opportunities" as key consequences of lacking a CDO.

"It's clear from this research that if businesses stick with the status quo and don't prepare themselves for a digital mind-shift now, they'll fall behind," CA Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) managing director, Bill McMurray, said.

"Worse still, they may lose market share because the services they provide to their customer aren't being deployed in a fast, engaging way. That's where digital can help."

While acceptance and confidence in the CDO role is growing, CA indicates business executives are conflicted as to where the responsibility for certain tasks lie. For example, when asked who they would consult on 'mobile' and 'app development', there was a close split between the CIO and CDO.

CA said this suggests the CDO is currently neither properly articulated nor understood, but is likely to grow in significant in coming years as understanding improves.