Chief Data Officer Success Hinges on Collaboration
Digital disruption and the rise of big data across every level of business are evolving the role of chief data officer (CDO) from a technically oriented position to a more strategic role. Given this shift in focus, CDOs are increasingly tasked to deliver data insights that will lead to better strategic planning and decision-making. Effective data management hinges on the capacity to collect, clean and derive actionable insights from the data. A CDO can streamline this process and improve outcomes through efficient cooperation with business units across the organization.
Streamlining Data Collection
There are numerous ways companies collect data. Second- and third-party data provides external points of collection, either through exchanges between partners or purchases from other vendors, while first-party data comes from in-house sources such as a customer relationship management (CRM) database. Typically, the selling, exchanging or purchasing of data occurs in silos, as each business unit determines what type of data it needs or wants to sell.
A CDO can streamline data collection and distribution by centralizing the process to purchase, exchange or sell data. Not only does this strategy break down silos between business units that sell data and those that purchase it, but it also delivers cost savings to the organization.
Building Quality Data From the Start
To glean accurate insights, CDOs must start with high-quality data. The challenge is that the best place to ensure data quality is at the point of creation, which is often outside the CDO’s management. Lines of business (LOBs) such as marketing, sales and operations are all creation points for data collection, and each LOB often has its own tools and processes for collecting data.
According to Harvard Business Review, many companies devote up to 80 percent of the time spent on a data analytics project to preparing data for analysis. To keep data quality high and the cost and time it takes to clean it after collection low, the CDO should work closely with LOBs to enact governing standards for how data is collected across the organization.
Chief Data Officers Create New Business Opportunities
Data drives insight. The more highly distributed data is across an organization, the more creatively it can be applied to grow business, reduce costs and increase competitiveness. A CDO can serve as the central point of communication by distributing data in meaningful ways to open new opportunities for increased growth and collaboration.
As the importance of data continues to rise, the importance of the chief data officer will, too. Already, more CDOs report to the CEO than the CIO, according to a Gartner survey reported in InformationWeek. While the technical infrastructure behind data analytics is important, achieving success will hinge on how well a CDO can apply organizational data initiatives to meet business objectives.