How to Determine If You Need a Chief Data Officer

By Danni White - Published on November 23, 2021
Chief Data Officer

COVID-19 has transformed the workplace into something unimaginable. In many companies, the management would like to see employees back at the physical workplace, but this seems unlikely to happen.

According to various surveys, a lot of people will continue to work remotely. The number of workers staying at home can be as high as 100%, depending on where you look.

With the explosion of data and the value it brings to businesses, most companies have considered hiring a Chief Data Officer (CDO). CDOs are in high demand in this era of big data.

Yet, do all companies need a chief digital officer? Are they a necessity for all businesses? We will begin by understanding what a CDO does and what he or she does in a company so we can see what the role of the CDO is in data-based decision-making.

What is the role of a CDO?

CDOs manage your company’s data and determine business strategies using it. It may seem like a straightforward task, but the complexity of collecting and analyzing data often complicates things.

For more insight into business strategies, companies often analyze structured data. Creating sophisticated systems to collect and analyze unstructured data requires the expertise of experts.

Depending on your company’s perspective on data, a CDO may have different responsibilities. The CDO is responsible for overseeing the use and monetization of data if it is an asset to your company.

Adding a CDO to your team is probably not necessary if data doesn’t play an important role in your operations or if you don’t need data insight for business strategy.

Chief Technical Officers (CTOs) tend to assume that CDO responsibilities can be handled by CTOs. It is the job of the CTO to integrate new technology into the workplace and enhance a business’s technological capabilities.

CTOs tend to focus on infrastructure. It is imperative to have an individual who is solely devoted to data analysis and aggregation in companies with large, complex data sets. A CTO provides some data insight, but CDOs can take data analysis to another level, making them an integral part of the executive team.

Scenarios in which a CDO is needed

To reengineer a modern enterprise’s decision-making capability, data and analytics are essential, and an accountable executive is necessary to make D&A work. You may need a senior D&A leader if your organization falls into one of the following three scenarios.

You have mismanaged data, do not understand your assets or your governance and accountability are lacking. Enterprise data and analytics assets are the responsibility of the CDO, and he or she is responsible for measuring, managing, and monetizing their value internally and externally.

Make data-driven decision-making part of every aspect of your business. Data sharing, stakeholder engagement, and data literacy are key factors for high performers in the Gartner CDO Survey 2021.

You care about marketing analytics. As compared with teams reporting to the CMO or another marketing leader, marketing analytics teams reporting to the CDO are more likely to claim that they outperform their peers.

The CDO Drives Enterprise Data Literacy

It is becoming increasingly crucial to enterprise success to be able to “speak data.”. CDOs play a vital role in developing D&A capabilities and data literacy within the organization, which generates these key business benefits:

  • To achieve desired business outcomes, business leaders understand the value of advanced analytics.
  • As business leaders become fluent and articulate in data, they are better able to explain to the board how D&A manifests itself in their organizations.
  • Taking advantage of data will result in more connected, contextual, and continuous decisions, which, in turn, will help you win the war for market share.

The Future of Data Jobs

COVID-19 has caused the labor market to change more rapidly than anyone had anticipated, according to the Future of Jobs 2020 report from the World Economic Forum. According to this study, what was once considered the “future of work” has already arrived.

It predicts that by 2025, industries as diverse as 15 and 26 will be affected by automation and a new division of labor between humans and machines. Automation and digitization in the workplace are reducing the demand for workers in fields such as data entry, accounting, and administrative support.

Over 80% of business executives are automating work processes and deploying new technologies, and 50% of employers are expecting some roles to be automated. The creation of new jobs is now slowing while the destruction of existing jobs is accelerating.

The emphasis on employment has also shifted dramatically. The report cites LinkedIn data that shows that some 50% of career shifts into data and artificial intelligence are from fields not directly associated with either discipline.

The figure is significantly higher for sales roles (75%), content creation and production jobs, such as social media managers and content writers (72%), and engineering jobs (67%).

When should you hire a CDO?

The right time to hire a CDO will vary from company to company. A company needs to hire a CDO when it is prepared to compete with data on a long-term basis and when it will be ready to build the organizational capacities it will need to do so.

When companies are drowning in data, it may be time to hire a CDO. CDOs provide order to chaos when a company’s data becomes overwhelming. Even though big data management alone is a necessary function, it isn’t enough to justify adding another senior executive, though it may indicate changes are necessary.

A good CDO makes data analysis worthwhile. Properly analyzed data enables companies to deploy intelligence-driven determination and confidence to tackle new projects and markets.

The Value of Chief Data Officers

In terms of value, CDOs act as an organization’s single point of contact for data. Organizations today handle numerous streams of data, and if a problem arises, people aren’t sure where to turn. The company has a clear point of reference for all data-related questions by appointing a Chief Data Officer.

Additionally, the CDO helps the organization create a holistic view of data by breaking down silos. It is the Chief Data Officer’s responsibility to create and enforce policies, guidelines, and rules for managing data.

In addition, he or she ensures data quality by implementing data governance. CDOs are also responsible for ensuring data compliance and building centralized data investments platforms.

Several units within a company invest in different platforms, which is ineffective in the long run. CDOs are responsible for allocating, motivating, and evaluating the cost-effectiveness of expensive resources, such as data scientists.

Final Thoughts

Just as a company has a CTO who handles technology and a CFO who handles finances, in the digital age it is essential to have a CDO who looks after the company’s most valuable asset data.

Danni White | Danni White is the Director of Content Strategy and Development at Bython Media and the Editor-In-Chief at TechFunnel.com, a top B2B digital destination for C-Level executives, technologists, and marketers. Bython Media is also the parent company of OnlineWhitepapers.com, BusinessWorldIT.com, List.Events, and TheDailyPlanIOT.com.

Danni White | Danni White is the Director of Content Strategy and Development at Bython Media and the Editor-In-Chief at TechFunnel.com, a top B2B digital destin...

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