The rise of the Chief Data Officer has been a byproduct of society's ability to produce data en mass. This influx in data has meant that many companies are now turning to a CDO to help guide their data initiatives.
Solid communication skills are part and parcel of every role and the Chief Data Officer is no exception. With data understanding still in its infancy, there should be a real emphasis on the CDO to spread knowledge around the organisation so that the value of data is understood. The CDO should be a data advocate and capable of winning over sceptics who sit in each and every echelon of the organisation.
As you would expect, experts in data should be experts in technology as well. CDOs should know analytical systems like the back of their hand and have their finger firmly on the pulse of up and coming technological advancements. This way the CDO will be able to take advantage of new technologies that have the ability to affect their company's data capabilities.
Strategy should never be far away from the CDOs thinking. They should appreciate the value of data to the business and have a clear understanding of how it can be valuable. A successful CDO will be able to develop data strategies that fit in with both the long and short term and be readily adaptable for any market fluctuations that come their way.
It's all well and good being an expert in data management but if a CDO doesn't have relevant business experience, it's unlikely that they'll be able to contribute to the strategic direction of the company. Somewhere in the region of ten years experience in a 'business role' should be the absolute minimum for a CDO.
As an extension of communication skills, the CDO should also be ready to be an organisational figurehead going forward. As data's importance is only likely to increase, the CDO will find that they are one of the CEO's closest partners and therefore they must be capable of taking on a leadership role.