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Daily Disruption

How One Former CFO Prioritizes Digital Investments as a CDO

Schneider Electric Chief Digital Officer Herve Coureil has run through the executive trenches in many different capacities. Prior to his appointment as CDO of the company, he was a more operationally minded CIO for the French energy firm for eight years. And his resume also has him serving a stint as CFO for a firm that was eventually acquired by Schneider. This gives him a unique viewpoint as the head of digital strategy for a 180-year-old company, one which Peter High of Metis Strategy delved into in-depth for his ongoing “Beyond CIO” series for Forbes. The interview holds a lot of interesting insights, but one in particular should hold value for digital leaders who sometimes wonder what goes through the heads of the “bean counters” in finance.

Coureil said that his past as a CFO taught him two important lessons. The first is to focus on the business outcome for customers, rather than just using technology for the sake of technology. Every deployment should have an intended outcomes and solid metrics to prove whether that outcomes came to fruition. The second lesson was one on resource allocation:

While companies are spending more on digital, there is a limit to how much you can spend. Having a sharp understanding of where you are going to spend your next dollar, how you prioritize projects, and how you define where you are going to apply your resources is something I have learned to be passionate about. We have deployed a strong practice around portfolio management and prioritization. Based on the outcome, we need to decide how we prioritize our resources to make a significant impact. You need to bet big, and you need to bet in the right area. –Herve Coureil, CDO, Schneider Electric


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