The Different Functions of the Chief Data Officer

The Chief Data Officer is at the forefront of the Big Data revolution


For the last couple of years organizations have been hit from every feasible angle with data. The companies that we would have once considered ‘traditional’ in their approach to data are fast becoming ‘old fashioned’. This is a marked difference and one that cannot be taken lightly. Increasingly, ‘traditional’ companies are those that embrace all things digital – clearly, data is no longer the calling card for progressive, savvy corporations.

You only have to go back a couple of decades and you’ll see that the data-landscape was vastly different to the one we are currently experiencing. Data was a hidden entity that lacked the recognition it deserved from board-level executives who were failing to recognise its capacity to incite competitive advantages.

Fast-forward twenty-years and data management is a reoccurring theme at the highest level of the organisation. Everyone now has data, an abundance of it in fact – there has even been speculation of a ‘data doomsday’ where companies become so inundated with data that they are frozen into inaction. Managing data efficiently is a goal that every company should be striving for at the moment – it’s the only way to guarantee that their day of reckoning never comes to fruition.

In the face of these challenges, the Chief Data Officer has emerged, a position that has been put in place to mange a company’s data infrastructure. Now more than ever, data’s true value is not seen in its sheer mass, but its accuracy. The CDO has to guarantee that data can be leveraged as a competitive advantage and managed in a way that allows for the identification of new opportunities.

In order for effective data management to ensue, CDOs have to have the appropriate funding and decision making power so that vital, game changing data can be discovered pro-actively. This pro-active stance can address a whole host of differing issues; from data privacy to data governance. Evidently, it’s a remit that requires a board-level executive who has their finger on the pulse of the data-landscape and someone who can make important decisions quickly.

The emergence of the Chief Data Officer is testament to the increasing importance that organizations are placing on data management. For many organizations, it’s a time for change, and if a company wants to identify the often microscopic segments of data that actually matter, effective management is the key.


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