3 items tagged "CDO"

  • An overview of the Chief Data Officer role, past and present

    An overview of the Chief Data Officer role, past and present

    The role of Chief Data Officers (CDOs) in 2020 is evolving as CDOs are having quite possibly their most important and challenging year in their nearly two-decade existence to meet their organizations’ best needs and data capabilities. 2020 has become the year that everyone became fully aware of data and its role in our lives.

    As COVID-19 rapidly spread into a pandemic, business models were turned on their heads, supply chains dried up, and consumer behavior drastically altered CDOs, largely the leader of an organization’s overall data strategy, needed to deliver new ways to harness data and deliver insights quickly to help the business adjust.

    In greater numbers than ever before, organizations worldwide are harnessing the data that flows into and out of their systems to accurately forecast sales, customer retention, new products, competitor performance, employee satisfaction, regulatory compliance, fraud reduction, and more. To put it simply: Data is a commodity that must be harnessed by your business, or you will be left behind.

    Thus, the CDO’s role has drastically evolved. No longer is the CDO only responsible for maintaining regulatory compliance and potentially increasing efficiencies – the CDO could be the most important member of the leadership team other than the CEO.


    The first CDO appointment occurred in 2002 when CapitalOne appointed Cathy Doss to the position. The role was created largely as a response to the passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which was created as a response to various financial scandals. This new regulation required far more data governance and retention than ever before. Despite the newfound need for the role, its growth was relatively flat until 2008-2010.

    As recently as 2012, only 12% of large companies had a CDO. However, as many organizations realized the important role data plays in their business, those numbers began to rise sharply. In fact, in 2018, organizations with an appointed CDO rose to nearly 70%, and Gartner estimates that by 2025, 90% of large organizations will have a CDO.

    Evolution of the role

    Initially, the CDO was created primarily in response to new federal finance laws, thus serving largely as a defensive role focusing on governance and regulation. However, as technology improvements in the form of hardware and software emerged, coupled with an expansion in data analytics, progressive executives noted the potential for offensive corporate data utilization. Soon these organizations were able to monetize the data they were already collecting in new efficiencies, productivity, and overall growth.

    For example, various departments’ data was previously siloed, meaning that product development data wasn’t necessarily available to customer support or marketing. Under the CDO leadership, this data now exists as a thread that weaves throughout the organization, connecting design engineers all the way through to the customer. The CDO now serves as the tip of the innovation spear and not simply as a data steward.

    Challenges and opportunities

    While the role of the CDO continues to evolve and serve their organizations in new ways, there remain challenges that must be addressed:

    • Who does the CDO report to? Ideally, the CDO will be equal on the executive team, but the organizational fit varies.
    • Stakeholder buy-in to both the usage of data and the role itself also varies greatly in different organizations.
    • Battles with the CIO. CIOs trend towards attempting to save money, while CDOs typically want to invest in new technologies.
    • High turnover. The average tenure of a CDO is two years. This may, however, come from CDOs going to where the grass is greener.
    • Clarity of mission. Only 28% of recent survey respondents say that the role is successful and established.
    • Data silos. Data is still extremely siloed and scattered in most organizations, and it can be difficult to bring it all together and, more importantly, understand it.

    But just as there are questions and challenges for CDOs, there are also opportunities the office of the CDO can now offer their organizations:

    • Revenue growth
    • Innovation
    • Fraud reduction
    • Enhanced data governance
    • Lower costs
    • Data literacy

    Changes for 2020

    Harnessing the power of data in digital transformation will be imperative for most organizations going forward. AI, ML, and data analytics are no longer buzz words only for tech and finance, and every successful organization will pivot towards viewing data as an asset. COVID-19 has challenged everyone in all walks of life. Companies that have embraced data have been able to analyze their help desk data, VPN information, and other portions of their computing environments to determine what remote work policies are working are which are not.

    In the healthcare industry, the CDO office has provided information on the availability of personal protection equipment (PPE), beds, and staff to ensure adequate treatment is available for COVID-19 patients. Additionally, grocery chains have been taxed as never before, and data models provide valuable information on supply and demand and frontline grocery workers’ health.

    The post-COVID-19 world will offer opportunities due to the lessons learned and data ingested during the pandemic, such as enhanced digitization of workflows, robust disaster recovery plans, investment opportunities, and more. If 2020 has shown us anything, it is in the power of responsible data collection and sharing. CDOs that leverage this new emphasis on data and invest in the future will steer their organizations to new heights while building robust plans for future opportunities as well as crises. This is a new era, an era where data is king, and the CDO will be a critical player in determining organizations’ success or failure.

    Author: John Morrell

    Source: Datameer

  • Digital transformation: Key goals and leaders

    Digital transformation: Key goals and leaders

    According to Innosight research, the average company tenure on the S&P 500 Index in 1977 was 37 years. By 2027, it’s forecasted to be just 12. At the current churn rate, about half of the companies now on the S&P 500 will be replaced over the next ten years. Digital Darwinism is steadily accelerating.

    '52% of the Fortune 500 have been merged, acquired, have gone bankrupt, or fallen off the list since 2000', notes Constellation Research Founder and Disrupting Digital Business author Ray Wang in a recent webcast. 'That is an amazing stat when you think about the level of disruption that’s happening inside lots of organizations'.

    Wang notes that digital leaders are now creating not just a digital divide, but a winner-take-all market. Overall, digital leaders now take up to 69.8% of market share, versus 30% for everyone else. And in percentage of profits, they lead with 77.1% versus 22.9% for everyone else. 'Using data-driven business models, they are able to create an unfair advantage, and it’s happening in every single marketing and every single industry', says the analyst and author.

    In Constellation Research’s latest digital transformation study, 68% of businesses with digital transformation projects are now seeing a positive ROI. Goals widely shared by these businesses include:

    • Reaching and engaging with customers more effectively
    • Building a competitive advantage in their current market
    • Implementing new, data-driven business models
    • Increasing revenue
    • Modernizing legacy IT and reducing costs
    • Improving agility
    • Faster innovation cycles
    • Improving the employee experience
    • Greater transparency
    • Compliance

    Who's leading the digital transformation charge?

    In 33% of organizations, notes Constellation’s survey, it’s the CIO who’s leading digital transformation initiatives. In 23% of organizations, it’s the CEO. In 20% of organizations, it’s the CDO (being chief digital or chief data officers). And depending upon who’s leading, the digital transformation priorities for the business may be different.

    When a CIO leads, their top three priorities tend to be:

    1. Building a competitive advantage (38%)
    2. Modernizing legacy IT and reducing costs (38%)
    3. Implementing data-driven business models (33%)

    When a CEO leads, their top three priorities are:

    1. Engaging with customers more effectively (57%)
    2. Building a competitive advantage (50%)
    3. Increasing revenue (43%)

    For CDOs (chief digital or chief data officers), the top priorities are also different, with:

    1. Implementing data-driven business models and engaging in faster innovation cycles tied for first place (50%)
    2. Engaging with customers more effectively, modernizing legacy IT, and reducing costs tied for second (43%)


    No matter who leads your organization's digital transformation, it is obvious that businesses trnsforming digitally and data-driven are having a competitive edge in the present and future. When taking on the process of digital transformation for your business, make sure to align your data strategy with company goals and primary processes. Choosing the right person to lead this process is key to a successful transformation.

    Author: Tricia Morris

    Source: MicroStrategy

  • Key components of developing the right data strategy

    Key components of developing the right data strategy

    What does your company do? 

    That was a trick question. It doesn’t matter what you think your company does, it’s going to have to turn into a data company soon, if it hasn’t started already, in addition to continuing to provide your core product or service. This may sound daunting, but it’s a good challenge to have and one that will ultimately improve your offering, delight your customers, increase stickiness and adoption, and keep you competitive in a changing data landscape. 

    In this article you will read a brief overview a data strategy's key components: what a data strategy has to encompass, vital considerations when dealing with data, and who the main players are when it comes to executing your data strategy.

    Data strategies for the uninitiated

    First off, 'So, what even is a data strategy anyway?' Everyone knows that data is important for organizations to make money, but just having a bunch of data is useless without a data strategy. A data strategy deals with all aspects of your data: where it comes from, where it’s stored, how you interact with it, who gets to see what, and who is ultimately in charge of it. This sounds like a tall order and you may be thinking 'Oh man! Is that my job?' Depending on your company’s level of data maturity, it might not be any one person or department’s job (yet). But you do need to start coming up with answers to all of these tough questions.

    “Everybody is going to assume that somebody else is taking care of the data, and the result is, nobody does”. - Charles Holive, Managing Director for Sisense’s Strategy Consulting Business.

    That’s a bad situation, and you definitely need to know who’s in charge of what data. However, one of the first questions you need to answer as you build your strategy is 'So, what do we want to do with all this data? Why? And how will this make us money/delight our customers?' Those answers ultimately have to come from the business unit that has the idea for making money/delighting customers in the first place: 'Internal data is owned by the function that creates it. It all sits within IT, but sales should own sales data, marketing should own the marketing data…' 

    These departments should also own the efforts to use that data to create new revenue, engagement, etc. A common misconception when it comes to data strategies is that they should be these all-encompassing, top-down initiatives that come from an all-seeing, all-knowing Chief Data Officer (more on this later), when actually you can, and should, build your strategy piece by piece and that the process should be driven by the areas who have the data in the first place. Whatever the initiative is (surfacing user data to inform them about their buying habits, etc.), the department with the data and the idea for using it should drive it. This increases ownership within the department and prevents the 'whose job is this?' question.

    Diversifying your data

    Once you’ve got your initiative in mind, it’s important to think about what data you need for it. The two main kinds of data your company has will be the data you generate and own and the data your customers generate, which you are only the custodians of (they own it). Whatever you plan on doing with data, this is the time to make sure that you are legally within your rights (consult your company’s legal department, counsel, etc.) and make sure that your user agreement contracts are properly worded to allow you to do what you want with the data you have. 

    There’s a third type of data your company can and should be thinking about for your data projects, and that’s third-party data, which can be used to add context to your datasets. More and more companies want to augment the context of their data. In healthcare, for instance, a hospital only has access to about 2% of the data on its patients, which is created while they are physically in the hospital. They are missing the other 98% of the data that is generated everywhere else. Their eating habits, buying habits, some of this could be useful to help provide better care. 

    As the outlook on data shifts from a company-centric to an ecosystem-spanning view, more and more companies will buy, sell, trade, and partner with other companies for access to the data they want and need to augment their datasets, deliver more value, and maintain a dominant position in their industries.

    Key players for implementing your data strategy

    Now that you know where the data strategy starts, who’s responsible for implementing it at the department level, and how to safely and responsibly use the data you’ve got, it’s time to talk about the key players within your organization who will help keep everything running smoothly. These are the business unit stakeholders, data professionals pulling the data together, and maybe the Chief Data Officer if your organization has one. The first one, we already covered: whoever came up with the idea for how to use your data (and whatever data you can get access to) should own the execution of that plan.

    They’ll need support from your company’s data experts: the IT department and data engineers (if you have them). These folks will walk the team executing the plan through the specifics of where the data is and how to access it. Additionally, they’ll make sure that the company has the analytics platform needed to pull it all together and present meaningful insights to your users. They may even be instrumental, along with product team members, in helping create embedded analytics that will live right inside your product or service.

    Lastly, we should discuss the Chief Data Officer (CDO). As previously discussed, this person is not the be-all-end-all of your data strategy. Many businesses, right now, may not even have a CDO, but when you do get one, they will wear a lot of hats within the organization. Their first job will be to look at all the data your company has and how it’s all being used and make sure that the processes in place make sense and are working. They will also check in with legal and make sure that data is being used in a way that’s compliant and that all user agreements are properly worded to protect users and the company. The CDO will also look for ways to augment your data holdings (through buying, partnering, etc.) to keep expanding the ways your company can use data to increase revenue. 

    Data strategies and culture

    A final, vital aspect of the CDO’s role is a cultural one: they have to assess the organization and make sure that everyone using data has a mindset that prioritizes the security of the data, but also the opportunity that it represents for the company. Every company is becoming a data company and the financial incentives are too huge to ignore: ´The market for monetizing data and insights is getting so big. Depending on what you read, it’s between 20 and 36 billion dollars over the next three or four years´. 

    Business teams need to understand this and be serious about getting the most out of their data. Dragging your feet or being half-hearted about it will not do: 'If someone says ‘the way I’ve made money before is the way I will make money tomorrow,’ I say ‘well, I’m not going to invest in your company.’ I know five years from now, someone’s going to get to your data and create much more value than you do with your transactions'. 

    Encouraging a culture of experimentation is key to finding new ways to use data to drive revenue and keep your company competitive. Charles suggested finding ways to make building new apps and projects with data as easy as possible, so that people across the company can build quickly and fail quickly, to find their way to solutions that will ultimately pay off for users and the company. 

    What will your company do?

    By now your head is probably spinning with all the potential challenges and opportunities of your data strategy (whether you had one when you started reading this article or not). If your team isn’t doing stuff with data right now, start asking the hard questions as to why that is and how you can change it. If your company doesn’t have the tools to build the analytics functionality you need, figure out how to get them. Whatever you have in your imagination, start building it. If you don’t, someone else will. 

    Author: Jack Cieslak

    Source: Sisense

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