Chief Data Officer – The Data Geek in the Room

In his latest book Data Strategy, analytics guru Bernard Marr, discusses how to profit from a world of big data, analytics and the internet of things. Marr breaks down the importance of having a data strategy to ensure data-driven decision-making, improve business operations and to monetize the data in a business.

data strategy

One of the key takeaways from his book is the emerging role of Chief Data Officer. This is a separate C-Level Suite position form the more traditional Chief Technology Officer or Chief Information Officer as this person should serve as both an analytics cheerleader and data-driven decision-making champion.

Big companies have CDOs, but even smaller and medium sized companies need to have someone who acts in this role even if its not an official title. I often say that analysts have to not only analyze data, but be champions of using data for decision-making. They have to be the data cheerleaders to educate, enable, and empower the use of data and analytics across the organization.

There are six primary areas a CDO should oversee; (1) high level vision, (2) implementations, (3) data governance, (4) business opportunities, (5) data culture leader and (6) sees data as a commodity.

  1. CDOs have to have either a seat at the C-Suite table or the ear of the top decision-maker in the company. They are the ones who make sure that data is properly channeled to the right people at the right time to ensure data-driven strategies.
  2. CDOs have to be the one ultimately responsible for data project implementations. This is not an IT thing. IT should be involved, but not the owners of data and analytics.
  3. CDO’s have to make sure good data governance is followed. Data has to be stored, secure and accurate.
  4. CDO’s are the ones who have the task of discovering business opportunities and identifying risks. They should have access to all the data they need to do both.
  5. CDO’s are the ones who consistently and clearly articulate the importance of data and the value of data-driven decision-making.
  6. CDO’s see data for its monetary value. Data is a commodity that in itself can be used to not just help the company, but to generate revenue itself.

So if you have a Chief Data Officer, or just a chief data geek, you are on the right path. If you don’t have one of these in your organization then your organization are likely going to be left behind.

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