As information technology flourished and businesses started dealing with massive amounts of data, the need for a dedicated job to manage this data became essential. With exponential growth in quantity of data, the challenges associated with data gathering, storing and managing became equally complex. It was expensive and frustrating to capture, extract, store and access the data. The next set of challenges came in the form of building a robust infrastructure to handle data and producing insights. This is how the role of Chief Data Officer emerged.
In today’s business scene, it is strange for a business to not depend on data in a significant way.Gartnerpredicted that about 90 percent of the companies would have a chief data officer by 2019. According to areport by Forrester, 45 percent of global businesses already have one and another 16 percent are planning to hire a CDO by end of next year. These trends and predictions highlight the importance of having a dedicated expert to handle the rise of data-backed business.
In fact, the title is not novel at all: Yahoo appointed a chief data officer back in 2004. However, it’s only recently that the title started garnering attention from businesses from all around the globe. In simple terms, the chief data officer is responsible for the company’s data-management activities, while being keen on the data acquisition, quality and strategy.
The role of the CDO was initially more oriented towards activities like capturing, storing and managing the growing data in organizations. In a sense, it was more about managing the data than using it. But, with improvements in the big data landscape and adoption of data science, things are changing.
Big data is not just growing in size, the methods of processing, analyzing and deriving insights from it are changing too. Businesses now use data in more ways than before. This includes business intelligence, customer sentiment analysis, office space optimization and even energy data utilization. Now that most businesses are deep rooted on the web, the availability of web data powered byweb scrapingtechnologies has also worked in the favor of organizations using web data for their business. Big data is constantly evolving from a mere business intelligence tool to a much-needed fuel for organizational growth. We now have businesses that function solely on data and it’s safe to say that any business can utilize the power of data to perform better.
The role of chief data officer has gone through rapid evolution in the last decade. Apart from merely managing the data infrastructure and handling the related operations, organizations now have high expectations from this job position.
While in the past, being a CDO was more about acting as the guardian of data who has to take care of the compliance policies and associated risks, it has evolved into a much more value focused role now. CDOs should now be able to generate revenue by influencing business decisions. This evolution of CDOs is correlated with the evolution of big data itself. With the concepts of Data Science gaining more popularity by each passing day, businesses are looking for someone who can leverage the power of data as business intelligence tool. Having someone who can come up with strategies to ensure the growth of the business using high quality data is what drives organizations towards chief data officers now.
Earlier CDOs were completely technology oriented. The basic requirement was the ability to decide what data should be exploited, what data is worth keeping and what must be discarded. Obviously, the CDOs were also required to have the skills to setup an infrastructure that can house and exploit the data that’s worth keeping. Later on, the evolution took CDOs to a new stage.