Get to know your Chief Data Officer

Chief Data Officers in the boardroomHe or she will likely become your best friend. If you want to make strategic decisions more quickly and accurately, your CDO is the make-it-happen person.

Are you suddenly asking yourself what a Chief Data Officer does and why your organization doesn’t have one? 

Although establishing this position may seem obvious in this era of data, it’s not as straightforward as you might imagine. According to a new study by the IBM Center for Applied Insights, Your chief data officer: Re-imagining the business of data, there are a few common questions tripping organizations up:

  • Doesn’t our CIO or CTO already have this covered?
  • Can we afford the financial commitment this role requires?
  • What do we risk if we hand over control of our data and analytics resources?
  • Where do we find someone with the right combination of tech-savvy and business know-how?

Despite these hurdles, the role is expanding rapidly. Gartner projects 25 percent of large global organizations will have a CDO by 2015.

Here are what CDOs and other C-suite executives told us about why their organizations are taking the plunge.

Why organizations need a CDO:

  • TO ENVISION: The CDO creates and directs a holistic data and analytics strategy.
    They need to understand the nuances of data, but they have to be strategic in their thinking. They need to serve as quarterback or conductor, articulating from a C-suite level what we need to do to understand our own business and our competition, explains one COO in the healthcare industry.
  • TO ACTIVATE: The Chief Data Officer does not just facilitate information-gathering, but also enables the organization to use data and analytics in order to create value and business impact.
    As one banking CDO explains; We don’t have to sell the average executive or board member that data should matter to us. Rather, it’s how do we drive it across and make it more powerful for the enterprise.
  • TO TRANSFORM: The value of the CDO comes in shifting the organization’s culture and decision making to be more analytically driven.
    “The whole reason you want a chief data officer… is because you desire to be more evidence- or analysis-based in the way you make decisions and respond to market stimulus,” says a CDO in the financial services sector.

Look for our next blog post to learn how CDOs are creating and directing data and analytics strategies for their organizations.


Early insights from San Francisco

Learn more about our research – www.ibm.com/ibmcai/cdostudy

Hear more from IBM on this emerging role – www.ibm.com/services/c-suite/cdo

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  1. […] 3.  Across industries, several business outcomes were achieved more commonly than others. Considering the wealth of data available today and the emergence of the Chief Data Officer role, it’s not surprising that the #1 outcome achieved through SaaS was leveraging analytics to turn big data into insights. The next most common business outcomes were improving the customer experience and changing the organization’s business model. These top outcomes clearly demonstrate the transformative power of SaaS. They also highlight our main study finding: SaaS is about so much more than “enterprise efficiency.” (related:  Get to know your CDO) […]

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