By Allie Philpin
So, you’ve discovered the value of your data; that’s good, particularly as the amount of data you receive into your organisation is only going to increase and any intelligent, useful information you can garner from that data is going to help you improve your bottom line! In what the UK government has termed the new information economy, data management and accurate, clean analysis of that data has become a huge benefit to many businesses; and with that realisation comes a role that joins others in the boardroom – the CDO, better known as the Chief Data Officer.
Gartner has reported that in 2013, there were more than 100 active CDOs in large enterprises; twice the number than in 2012! And it looks like it’s not just the private sector that’s having all the glory of a new boardroom member; Gartner predicts that over 10% of government organisations will have a CDO in their ranks during 2014. But a word of warning to anyone considering the role of a CDO; it’s not just about adding economic value through the use of best practices, you also need a diplomacy and a business head!
But what a good CDO can add is invaluable; from customer preference insights to targeted customer activities, knowledge combined with intelligent data to drive streamlining and consolidation of operational costs, and so much more! With the advent of cloud platforms, storing data is as cheap as ever which allows organisations to hold on to far more data than they would have done in the past. But the managing and archiving of that data comes under the CDO’s remit and they are able to align their overall objectives with the business’s corporate strategies, which also includes adapting existing data management solutions and integrated them with new technology that will drive forward a range of data projects.
There are other skills a CDO will require, particularly if they are looking to implement a holistic approach to bring about better efficiency. A combination of analytical computing and business strengths is required, rather than these areas working individually; a skill that the financial services industry appears to be adopting with success in the UK. Another skill is being able to persuade and convince fellow board members, as well as employees, about the value of data, its benefits, and get their buy-in to any new plans. Don’t forget that a CDO’s decisions will have an impact on the bottom line!
Developing a good understanding of the business, their processes and procedures, and what the business needs to grow are essential skills, but a CDO will also need diplomacy, balance, an analytical brain, exceptional interpersonal capabilities – remember, a lack of understanding will bring with caution from others – flexibility and adaptability.
It’s a role, because it is such a new role, that is ever-changing, and a successful CDO will need to move, probably rather quickly, with new developments. That said, it certainly looks to be an exciting role!