Good Lord! Another Chief something Officer… Do you really need one? Yes you do, and you had better not wait too long before hiring one.
Chief Data Officer is a rather new function, at least with such a responsibility at that level of seniority.
So why do you need such a role? There are two main reasons for driving your data strategy at C-level: the variety of the data and its strategic monetization.
Data is so abundant, that no one can grasp it globally at a single glance any more; a minimum requirement is to handle it with the proper governance, an optimum organization requires a global strategy. Considering the amount of sources (sales and client support, accounting and finance, HR, competitive intelligence, product database, industrial processes, PII, social networks, to name a few), no one in the company may own solely all this data.
A dedicated Data manager definitely is key.
Second, data is value. All these sources, with numerous records, and an ever-growing amount of attributes, imply that investing money on the market means checking data before, either to verify assumptions or even more straightforward, to find an already existing answer that you should not be paying for.
In a fierce and global competitive world, data is an incredible asset for the company, maybe the most important one, for sure the less exploited; many actions could be improved by a sound data management, including shutting down data management silos, really sharing information across business units. As data cannot belong to one or the other stakeholder, its management ought to be lead at the highest level, at C-level.
A dedicated Data officer definitely is key.
Who is this Officer in charge of Data Management? “Meet the Chief Data Officer” wrote Brad Peters, earlier in 2014, on the site of The Economist.
Finally, affording a CDO position is a unique way to drive growth. For sure, you have to “make room” for this new Officer, taking away from the BU’s a part of what they believe is their power, data ownership. A significant move, that must be initiated by the CEO. And, of course, you have to hire the relevant person for the job, with enough experience to drive a global data strategy, but also with a good mix of technical knowledge and business acumen, so as to implement it. No spring chicken by any means!
I would be glad to answer any question about the CDO role, and help you define its job description. And maybe you will discover that I am a rather good candidate…