With the new year in full motion, many business owners and directors will be looking to their top management for innovative ideas and methods of getting ahead in their chosen markets. 

Here are three leaders who will likely have a growing impact on strategic planning in 2016.

6 per cent of companies currently have a CDO on board

Chief Digital Officers

There is no doubt that the world is becoming digitised at an astounding pace, so it is no wonder that the Chief Digital Officer (CDO) is expected to be a much more common sight on the boardroom table.

A recent release from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that while just 6 per cent of companies currently have a CDO on board, the need for digital transformation will likely push this proportion up in the coming years. With innovations such as business management software expected to become more vital for companies, having the brains to adopt these technologies effectively will be immensely valuable to many businesses.

HR managers

A business is nothing without its workers and HR leaders are starting to have a bigger say in the strategic direction of a company and how attracting and retaining employees will help achieve goals.

According to Bersin by Deloitte's most recent blueprint, the next step for this group is to become more aware of the total business, as well as the importance of agility to drive value. 

Building an effective board is the first step in strategic success.Building an effective board is the first step in strategic success.

HR Transformation leader Erica Volini explained that this department is the "last mile" of change for many organisations, as leaders start to truly explore the capabilities of this department.

"By identifying the core skills needed for business partners to operate in the new world of work, we can maximise their effectiveness and, more importantly, their contribution to business results, she said. "That is when transformation can be fully achieved."

Chief Financial Officers

These leaders certainly have a lot of weight on their shoulders and a report from Robert Half highlighted their unique challenges moving forward.

Out of the CFOs surveyed, 66 per cent stated that doing business is more complex compared to five years ago. CFOs have to deal with disruptive innovations, a higher number of compliance issues and a faster pace of change.

Despite this, many are still on board with the company's strategy, with 87 per cent stating they have confidence in their leader. This is a positive step for strategy execution as CFOs will respond well to challenges if they receive the right support.