The Rise of the Chief Data Officer

A few decades ago the prospect of analyzing and processing data was a novel field of technology reserved for elitist scientists. Today however on the backdrop of digitalization, data and information processing have become an integral component of the 21stcentury business model. Businesses now understand just how important data is to efficiency and scalability, a reality that’s led to the creation and widespread adoption of the Chief Data officer role in most organizations. According to business and market analysis firm Visual Capitalist, by 2019 approx. 90% of all international businesses will have a resident Chief Data Officer. In 2017 alone, already existent CDO offices saw a more than 23% bump in budgetary allocations. These stats provide an insight into the growing relevance of CDO’s in today’s business world.

Understanding the trend shift

For the most part of its history, the business of handling data was delegated to an organization’s head of data processing. This categorization meant it was handled with the least specificity and almost always in isolation from other aspects of a company’s organizational framework. Back in the day, data wasn’t leveraged as a means for deriving efficiency and competitive advantage but rather seen as pluming…another expense on the balance sheet. By the mid 80s and extending until the early 90s, the info tech ecosphere witnessed the birth of the Chief Information officer role and for the first time, there was considerable interplay between the more technical aspects of data analysis and an organization’s core objectives. The benefits of this synergy were clearly palpable and before long the CDO role was created by a slew of firms committed to fully exploiting the nascent opportunities ingrained in data. This effectively kickstarted the CDO and with it came data analysis for insights and adoption of derived insights for better operational efficiency and increased competitive advantage.

The modern CDO

Analytic tools in hand and with a detailed insight on best practices as it relates to a business’s mode of operations, the 21stcentury Chief Data Officer is primed to elevate his/her organization to new competitive heights. To do this, CDOs perform a trident of essential data management activities such as

Integrating data

CDOs are charged with the business of collating, integrating and analyzing otherwise indigestible data to derive the bigger insightful picture. CDOs identify viable data sources before determining the best means of farming and analyzing them. The advent of Big Data and various massively parallel processing suites provide CDOs the necessary machinery to do this with increased efficiency.

Optimizing businesses for success

The ability of CDOs to manipulate insights into actionable strategies distinguishes them from other conventional data roles. This is because unlike the latter, CDOs are skilled computing experts AND savvy business strategists. They can analyze the market (using available data) to improve efficiency and develop competitive business driven opportunities for growth and development.

Providing an innovative edge

The breadth of information and insights available to CDOs make them astute trend catchers and skilled business innovators. They’re the first to spot profitable products and business models for organizations to exploit. Now and in the future, all eyes will be on them as organizations look to them to derive the most value from their data.

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