By David Laverty
Organizations are struggling to leverage their data to innovate and transform their business, not just as it relates to their systems but who to put in charge. Many CEOs are recognizing the importance of data, but their CIOs or CTOs are already over-taxed with infrastructure initiatives. This is why a new role is rapidly emerging in the market – the Chief Data Officer (CDO).
The CDO’s job, put simply by one CDO, is to provide “Actionable, Accurate, Accessible… Data”. To accomplish this, they work closely with line of business leaders as well as IT. They are the bridge between what a department wants to accomplish and how to get it done. This puts them in high demand. IBM’s Vice President of Big Data, Integration and Governance, Inhi Suh, predicted that more organizations will add a CDO to their management teams in a recent Information Week article.
In fact, 50% of Fortune 500 companies will have this role by 2015 according to executive recruiting firm Russell Reynolds, a firm specializing in the placement of Chief Data Officers.
Gartner estimates there are currently around 100 or so Chief Data Officers mainly in financial services and government.
CEOs who are considering adding a CDO to their C-Suite or already have one are taking the initial steps needed to elevate the role of data in their company to help gain competitive advantage. They are taking the necessary measures needed to derive value from their data through analytics. Chief Data Officers have the ability to focus on simplifying data architecture and access to reduce risk, increase compliance, and improve data quality, usage and value. The CDO is the new authority to drive data transformation.
But where do you start? The first step is to identify the need for a CDO, what you wish that person to achieve as a member of your C-Suite, and to understand how it can and will transform your business. Second, identify the right person for the position of Chief Data Officer, someone who has tangible authority within the IT and business domains. Third, establish a data management program driven by the CDO. And most importantly, drive a cultural change that can break down data silos across businesses.
Data will continue to grow. In fact, with 2.5 billion gigabytes created each day, there’s no getting away from it. With a volume that massive, a vast sea of information, you need someone to steer the ship, to drive the business, transform the data and enable it to become the basis of your competitive advantage. A Chief Data Officer can do just that.