Written by Shannon Baldwin

Why Your Company Needs A Chief Data Officer (CDO)

Digital transformation has been shaking up the C-suite. 
And the newest entry to the boardroom is the Chief Data Officer. 
As technology is having an increasing influence on the way companies across all industries operate and as data volumes continue to increase, it makes sense that the CDO has a greater presence at the executive table. 
To give you an idea of just how much more data is being produced by today’s organisations, here’s a startling fact – more than 90 percent of the world’s total data was created in just the last two years. Now you can understand why having a dedicated data officer is not just a good idea, it is now basically essential for any forward-looking company. 

Why you should have a CDO

There are a variety of reasons why having a dedicated data officer provides key benefits that would otherwise be hard to fully take advantage of. 
This includes:

  • Breaking down data silos – companies that don’t share information between departments and individuals are less productive. This has always been an issue, especially in larger organisations, but is increasingly the case as data is now a commodity. CDOs can help break down the data silos between departments by having full visibility over internal and customer data and helping to make it available to those that can make best use of it.
  • Improving competitiveness – in the world of business, it pays to understand your customers, the market, and the competition. In fact, by assessing data on customer needs, buying habits, and preferred methods of communication its possible to gain a key advantage over other companies in the market. Huge amounts of data are now available via social media and from supply chains, meaning the CDO can help give the company a major boost over the competition.
  • Bringing meaning to data – with such an explosion of data volumes in recent years, companies now find themselves in the situation where they have suddenly increased demands on organising, securing, and making sense of this data. It’s fine to say that data enables important insights to be gained but unless you have a way of making the data meaningful then it leads to nothing but headaches. One of the CDOs principal roles is to properly aggregate, clean, and utilise data so the company can rely on its authenticity and accuracy and then bring it to life. 
  • Increasing profitability through data analytics – CDOs are adept at using machine learning and other analytics tools to derive insights from complex data. This helps to increase profitability by using data analytics as a tool for making more informed strategic business decisions that are based on hard numbers and accurate forecasting.
  • Supporting the C-Suite team – let’s face it, data science and analytics is a specialist skill that not everyone can master. This is especially the case for many C-suite roles where their strengths may lie much closer to financial, staff, or project management skills rather than the technical expertise needed to understand data inside and out. Therefore, a CDO can help the C-suite team make far better use of the data available to them and encourage them to use and share it in ways that can better benefit the organisation.
  • Help manage risk and regulation – with increased levels of scrutiny being placed on organisations to better manage customer privacy and data, this is another key area where a CDO can be invaluable. Having someone dedicated to understanding the risks of hacks or poor data management practices on the security of customer and internal data can go a long way in boosting the trust customers place in the company brand as well as avoid it facing any regulatory breaches.

A data-driven future

The ongoing digital transformation of businesses and the recognition that data is an enterprise asset means that data management will only continue to increase in importance in the coming years. The CDO plays a primary role in helping enterprises adjust to this new paradigm. 
Despite the importance of the role, it’s important to note that the CDO position is a challenging one. Rapidly changing regulations on data management and ever increasing data volumes mean that the CDO must be adaptable and prepared for a fast paced job on par with the responsibilities and challenges faced by other modern C-suite roles such as a CFO or CTO. 
If you’d like to learn more about how to put yourself on a pathway towards a career as a CDO or to learn more why it is now one of the most important roles in any organisation, get in touch with Finite

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