What you should be looking for in a Chief Data Officer

The new digital landscape is reshaping IT roles. With the rise of data from The Internet of Things (IoT), a sea of potential social network information and sophisticated web analytics tools, companies need to become more selective about the data they store.

Digitalisation has created the need for an integrated information management strategy as business units rush to harness the opportunities of big data.

With many organisations realising that data science matters, retaining, accessing, protecting and ultimately deleting content in compliance with evolving regulations is a top-of-the-list business concern.

At the same time, IT teams are also coming to realise the need for a leader whose role is to understand and advocate on behalf of the data. This new task cannot be undertaken by the CIO, who is already overwhelmed with facilitating and managing digital innovation and transition.

> See also: Will the Chief Data Officer KO the CIO?

Gartner predicts that 25%  of organisations will have a Chief Data Officer (CDO) by 2017, with that figure rising to 50% in heavily regulated industries such as banking and insurance. In fact, the analyst firm found that 20% of CEOs in large organisations already have a data officer in place to lead their organisation’s digital innovation..

But the question remains, how do businesses get the most value of out of this data?

It is estimated that poor data quality costs an average organisation $13.5 million per year, and yet data governance problems – which all organisations suffer from – are worsening. While the concept of data management has been around for a couple of years now, data is still not sufficiently managed as an asset.

This calls for an investment in people who can actually nurture and manage that data. This is where the CDO comes in. Their role is to build a governance plan in order to effectively keep track of data assets: where they are stored, who has access, and how often they are cleansed and checked.

The CDO can put data quality processes in place to better manage the purity of critical business data, and he can make sure the business is not paying to store duplicated, old, unverified or corrupted data. The end result is a cleaner, clearer dataset for everyone in the business, and a more secure, timely and effective management of data for the customer or client.

The CDO is also responsible for enabling organisations to manage data as a corporate asset. This means being responsible for how companies use and extract value from data, including how they protect data privacy and maintain compliance with laws related to data integrity and accessibility.

The CDO needs to create order from chaos and get the most business value from information the company possesses to improve overall insight and competitiveness.

Connecting with customers

The CDO has to be able to appreciate the importance of connecting technology-based processes that operate organisations with the ‘human element’ – typically ignored yet crucial information that lies in unstructured data, often in social networks. In order to achieve this, the CDO will need a crital approach, bridging the gap between useful data and calling for action.

Research shows organisations that leverage big data to connect with customers make more money. In fact, using data can result in smarter business decisions and more revenue for companies of various types and sizes.

> See also: Is a CDO just a CIO who collaborates with marketing?

Ultimately, data should be managed as a product. It is the CDO’s responsibility to identify new sources of data, as well as determine how to package existing data from a multitude of sources to create value-add or even commercial offerings.

Making smart use of information that is created and stored every day will enable organisations to unlock more opportunities and better differentiate themselves from the competition.

Becoming a data-driven organisation is no longer a choice, but a necessity. Making decisions based on data-driven approaches not only increases the accuracy of results but also provides consistency in how the results are interpreted and fed back into the business.

Data has the potential to change an organisation. Today’s businesses need a new ‘data hero’. As the information advocate, the Chief Data Officer is that driver of change.

Sourced from Mark Bentkower, CISSP, Director of Systems Engineering ASEAN, Commvault Systems

Avatar photo

Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

Related Topics