Data Science

The Rise Of The Chief Data Officer

18th Aug `15, 03:41 PM in Data Science

Sometimes change has to be accompanied by numbers. That is the foundation on which the Big Data revolution…

Matthew Reaney
Matthew Reaney Contributor
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Sometimes change has to be accompanied by numbers. That is the foundation on which the Big Data revolution is built. Without their reassuring presence, there would be little progress.

Cold hard numbers are what make the world of business go round. Big Data is increasingly providing more and more intricate insights, but there has to be a Chief “Translator” of these numbers on the board of companies. They might not react kindly to a 24-year-old data scientist genius telling them how to run their business. The “Chief Data Officer” needs to have one foot in the business space and one foot in the tech space.

In keeping with the data-led decision making processes that many businesses are introducing, I thought that I would share a few statistics (from a report by Experian) to show CEOs why they should be considering hiring a CDO if they have not got one already:

77% of CIOs say that data is not being used to it’s full potential.
- 51% blame limited budgets.
- 47% point to increasing data volumes.
- 47% cite a lack of understanding of analytics.
92% of CIOs would like to see a CDO role created.
76% of CIOs want the CDO as a board level position by 2020.
61% of CIOs hope that they will have a CDO within the next 12 months.

According to Gartner, 25% of large global organisations will have appointed a Chief Data Officer by the end of 2015. The more pertinent question is: where do they come from and what will they be responsible for? Rather than give you my personal view, I thought that I would lean on the opinions of a couple of leading CDOs:

“The CDO role must sit within the business and not from IT. The CDO role is more around data governance, monitoring, data processes, data lifecycle and data sourcing rather than IT and this reflects how it should be structured.” Vincent Benita, BNP Paribas Chief Data Officer

“The CDO should be accountable for overall data management within an organisation, but teams that utilise data to derive insight to shape their strategies should take ownership of the data, whether that’s by nominating a data steward or every individual focusing on data. The CDO should help provide a framework and support for these individuals to get the most out of their data resource.”Matthew Keylock, Dunnhumby Global Head of Data

“I would advise that a data owner in any organisation puts a robust data governance structure in place from which everything else can flow. This will help to drive commercial value and ensure that the organisation is fully compliant.”Nina Barakzai, Sky Group Head of Data Protection and Privacy

As recruiters for Big Data professionals, we are constantly working hard with big businesses to identify where these people could come from. It is a new role and it provides a great opportunity for people to make a step change in their company’s fortunes. The future is here and the Chief Data Officers are leading the charge.

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