The Value a Chief Data Officer Adds to an Organisation

On 12 February, we hosted 5 data/information/analytics leaders at a roundtable discussion over dinner at the Radisson Blu Sandton.

The evening’s two main objectives were to:

  • Uncover the insights of these leaders into the CDO role
  • Begin the formation of a network of people who are equally motivated to drive the development of the CDO

It’s true that the room was full of the converted preaching to each other but these are the people that will drive data, information and analytics up the corporate agenda. The conversation was honest and wasn’t all rah-rah-CDO. There were times where the limitations of the CDO (and CAO) were highlighted.

The guests were asked to answer 5 questions in the lead up to the function and the answers were then discussed over dinner.

The headline questioned posed to the group was:
What is your view on the value a Chief Data Officer role adds to a business in today’s business climate?

The perspectives, per attendee, below:

YH: The CDO is slowly becoming a corporate standard. We as face an unprecedented volume of data, legacy infrastructure ‐ and someone needs to take charge. There needs to be top‐line management that is putting together and driving the adoption and evolution of new technologies, people and processes to really embed a data‐driven culture in the bank. I think CDO adds that focus towards this seamless integration where data will help power consumer experiences, and it that focus of flow from back‐end technology to delivering data‐driven products back to the consumer that a CDO can have the most impact.

PV: Seems often to be a reactive stance to the leading players in data value and benefits. Where it has worked well is the impact on costs (storage, platforms, licensing) . In financial services the role of a CDO to support regulatory requirements has become a key focus. This links to broader risk management challenges and data security. If a CDO pulls a singular strategy together to manage data assets (at an enterprise level) and apply the appropriate rigour in technology application the ability to realise value is already a great step forward. Typically the proliferation of data assets and information becomes a cottage industry type structure without the ability to scale. Efficient decision‐making then becomes the focus and ensuring the scenarios and ability to predict best outcomes drives business strategy. This is a case of maturity where executives should not make decisions without knowing what the impact could be.

The obvious approach to ensure that the full potential value from all data a business and its customers generates is achieved, is to have a dedicated c‐level management role overseeing the full value chain of data: the CDO.

MN: The CDO role gives organisations clear direction in formulating and drive the data strategy in support of the business strategy, by acting as the single point for Data ownership at the “C” level. It allows for direct representation regarding Data in Boardroom discussions, with Executive sponsorship at the “C” level. This paves the way to secure appropriate resourcing and funding to leverage Data as a value driver. The value add of the role is even greater for Global organisations that operate in multiple geographies by helping to address country and culture dynamics, data privacy challenges and technical complexities.

It also gives “all things data” a clear and well defined home within the organisation.

PJB: Noticeable companies are beginning to see the value of information in their organisations. Data, records and information are becoming a strategic asset to the one who can squeeze out its value. But this value comes at a price and for most companies it becomes a journey as mistakes from the past are corrected through a process of re‐alignment and re‐engineering, creating awareness and changing a corporate culture in how data in perceived. The Chief Data Officer becomes that strategic executive driving this corporate transformation.

RVDW: In recent years data and data generating devices have become ubiquitous, with the main driving factors the advent of social networks and mobile smart devices. At the same time business management are increasingly realising the potential value not only in their own operational data but also the competitive edge that can be gained from the information encapsulated in their customer’s data. The obvious approach to ensure that the full potential value from all data a business and its customers generates is achieved, is to have a dedicated c‐level management role overseeing the full value chain of data: the CDO.

Hear more from the leading Chief Data Officers at the coming Chief Data Officer Forum, Africa organized by Corinium Global Intelligence. For more information, visit
www.chiefdataofficerafrica.com

By Craig Steward:

Craig Steward is the Content Director for Corinium’s CDO and CAO Forums in Africa. His research is uncovering the challenges and opportunities that exist for CDOs and CAOs and the Forums will bring the market together to map the way forward for these important roles. For more information contact Craig on [email protected]

The Value a Chief Data Officer Adds to an Organisation from Chief Data Officer Forum @CDOForum

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