There’s a New Chief in Town: Emerging C-Level Roles Within PSOs

March 22, 2019 Jen Frost

If you’re like me and have been in and around the Professional Services world for a substantial amount of your career, you may automatically assume when you hear the title CIO that a firm is referring to its Chief Information Officer. But, not so fast my friend! The CIO has also come to refer to a new role within PSOs—the Chief Innovation Officer. These individuals are tasked with infusing innovation throughout the firm and spearheading efforts to engage with clients in new, unique and meaningful ways.

I was catching up on the Legal IT Insider only to learn that Dentons has hired a former Obama staffer as its Chief Innovation Officer. I also read about Slaughter and May’s Collaborate program—aimed at providing technology companies with a platform for accessing mentorship, feedback and guidance from the firm as they evolve and grow. The program is championed by the firm’s Head of Innovation, Head of Knowledge and Senior Technology Lawyer.

At the core, the “new CIO” focus has a lot to do with the industry’s efforts to deliver value, enhance the client experience, provide points of differentiation to critical audiences and, ultimately, drive sustainable growth for their firms. It is not surprising that there is a resurgence of investment in things like client, employee or information portals and also topical PWAs.

Rest assured, you don’t need to be a “CIO” to engage in transformative thinking. Sometimes asking some simple questions can help you jump-start your own innovation programs. For instance:

  • Is there a way of taking valuable, but static, content and transitioning it to a digital or searchable format?
  • Are there small client pain points around billing, invoicing and/or project budgets that could be addressed by making critical client account information available through a portal or password protected website?
  • Could data be presented in a more user-friendly fashion, with the goal of improving engagement and audience usage?

In a growing trend of title changes, the CIO is not the only individual impacted. There are also emerging trends towards introducing a Chief Transformation Officer, Chief Security Officer, Chief Privacy Officer, Chief Analytics Officer, Chief Data Officer, Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Experience Officer, Chief Learning Officer, Chief People Officer, Chief Growth Officer and/or a Chief Product Officer to the organization. The introduction of each not only represents the organizations’ dedication to a specific area, but it also underscores an eagerness to rethink traditional approaches, with the aim of innovating.

If you’re interested in learning more about how firms are connecting with their audiences in meaningful ways and innovating to stay ahead of disruption, check out this recent post: How Digital Brand Experiences Transform PSOs and Drive Sustainable Growth

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Jen Frost Managing Director, Marketing

Jen Frost is Managing Director of Marketing at One North. She works closely with the Digital Strategy, Experience Design and Technology teams to develop and enhance One North client communication and exterior messaging strategy. In addition, she provides general marketing direction for One North and promotes internal culture.

  • Favorite season: Fall is my favorite season. Probably because I used to live in Massachusetts, and it is just beautiful there in the Autumn.
  • Favorite Chicago spot: The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool hidden in the middle of Lincoln Park.

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