Chief Data Officer – why you should care!
Gartner predicts that 90 percent of large organizations will have a chief data officer by 2019.
Reflecting on this, and thinking about the meetings I‘ve had with several large organisations this week, about where they want to take their data and analytics, I don’t think this is the case. Why do I say that? In conversations with these organisations, the one thread that I see is that they are talking big about data, because all of us know that data is the asset of the future, but the one thing they lack is the person focused around the data for the future. The Chief Data Officer!
Here is why your organisation needs a Chief Data Officer:
- A leader that can drive forward a data strategy and roadmap. Being able to uncover all the disparate silos that exist, understand the needs of the business, what key decisions need to be made, what kind of data is required to run the core of the business, what kind of analytics people need in their everyday jobs, how innovation will happen with data.
- Someone who can unpick the mess that has been created over time with a your company data. Put in the right people and not just bring in the usual “data scientists” as that’s what most companies think they need! A total team around data is required: data analysts, data engineers, business analysts, developers etc.
- An authentic Leader that knows their “true North”, can guide and corral people on a journey from data immaturity to being a data competitor.
- An advocate for all things data from: data governance, analytics, data architecture, data insights and actions, data monetisation.
- An individual that has the tenure of business, and can quickly understand business models and strategy and align these to the data strategy – supporting the strategy to ensure the business evolves into the vision that has been set by the CEO.
- An individual who has the knowledge of technical concepts, and the ability to set the technical data strategy and collaborate with technology colleagues (namely the CIO / CTO / Chief Digital Officer) to ensure alignment with the overall technology strategy.
- An individual that can lead an organisation through deep change, rethinking the way they look at decisions and encourage a data-driven approach.
- Most importantly, and this is purely my view – a delivery and execution focus with the confidence to try things in a small way and if they fail then rethink and attempt again. This is about failing fast – none of us have the true answer to this and without a little bit of experimentation the CDO will almost definitely fail!
A CDO is the way forward for organisations, and I don’t mean a Chief Digital Officer. Don’t confuse the two, data is the fabric of the business and everything that is generated by the business. A Chief Data Officer will work with all her C-Suite colleagues to get the direction set to establish a true “data-driven-analytical” company. Without a Chief Data Officer your business is open to disruption. The CDO will show you how data will enable growth, create new products and transform your business. Don’t let your company die!