Data is ubiquitous; it underpins every transaction, operation and interaction within today’s organizations. Data needs to be governed, architected and analyzed. Data needs an infrastructure robust enough to offer security, yet agile enough to support a lively set of requirements. In today’s dynamic marketplace, organizations need to consider whether they can continue to compete effectively without a chief data officer (CDO).
Dynamic stewardship of data
The CDO is increasingly the C-suite’s solution to navigating today’s disruptive, dynamic, data-intensive world. It’s a bespoke role that needs to be tailored to the requirements and culture of the business. At the same time, the CDO is responsible for enabling the organization with a core set of capabilities engineered for sensing and responding to changing demands.
In general, the CDO is responsible for the enterprisewide management and use of data as an organizational, often strategic, asset. This role is often tasked with acquiring and managing the capabilities necessary to drive enterprise innovation, transformation and market-facing competitive advantage through the use of data and analytics.
9 times more likely to have business-driven data and analytics governance
7 times more likely to have a big data and analytics strategy
8 times more likely to use big data and analytics technologies pervasively across their organization
5 times more likely to have an Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark platform in place
3 times more likely to outperform peers
5 times more likely to use data and analytics to stay ahead of competitors
Given these differentiators, we expect more organizations to embrace the CDO role. Yet, market observations indicate that many organizations fail to define the role clearly; the rate of turnover among CDOs is unusually high with few candidates retaining the role for more than 24 months.
One factor we believe underpins such a high turnover is that the CDO’s role is as multifaceted as it is amorphous: A room of 50 CDOs likely results in 50 very different job descriptions, candidate qualifications and implementation approaches. Organizations are developing and defining the role to fit their unique cultural and organizational objectives.
Through our research, we have identified key patterns for consideration, both before initially appointing a CDO and after the CDO’s appointment to manage the role as capabilities evolve. Leveraging these patterns, we believe executives can make better decisions than ever about the goals, structures and priorities of the CDO role.
In the CDO Playbook report, we use quantitative and qualitative data to answer the key questions in regard to expectations, structure and priorities that every organization needs to consider when creating, or recreating, the CDO role:
What is the primary business goal of the CDO?
What is the scope of the CDO role?
Who should the CDO report to, and who should report to the CDO?