In today’s data-driven “age of the customer,” a new C-level role is starting to pop up in companies across all industries: the Chief Data Officer (CDO). This position arises from the deluge of data that is available to businesses today thanks to technological advancements in the areas of data integration and analysis.
In order to stay competitive, companies need not only to capture as much data as possible, but also to use the information strategically to inform business strategy and company direction. The CDO is tasked with overseeing and directing the business in ingesting, analyzing, and using data – no small task.
When it comes to the ways a CDO can go about taking this on, the possibilities are endless. While the particulars of a sound data strategy vary by company, there are a few fundamentals that a CDO must follow in order to be effective:
The role of a Chief Data Officer is important for all industries and company sizes. Awareness is growing of the value of data and the importance of utilizing this asset to improve business results. The role of the CDO varies significantly across organizations, depending on the organization’s needs. In order for CDOs to ensure that they are driving results that are valuable for the business, they must define specific objectives so that they are clear from the start about what they want to accomplish and how it will help increase the company’s success.
Gartner’s 2016 report on the CDO indicates that there is currently a lack of meaningful metrics to measure the effectiveness of the role. By establishing clear metrics against their goals from the beginning, CDOs can avoid ambiguity on their deliverables and position themselves as someone who is delivering clear business value.
In the age of big data, all businesses need to rethink their organizational structures to ensure data is flowing efficiently throughout the business and driving optimal results across departments. Improving data management and governance, expanding the use of data throughout the organization, and ensuring insights are turned into actions and results are all essential objectives. According to a Forrester report, companies with CDOs are more likely to ensure compliance, reduce risks, and increase business agility than those without a CDO. An effective CDO must lead the charge when it comes to empowering cross-functional teams, overcoming silos, and mitigating any power struggles between data owners, data managers, CEOs, and CMOs. Too many organizations lack data-savvy leadership in each department – a successful CDO must stitch it all together.
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