And within this frame, the role of the Data Director (Chief Data Officer o CDO) gains influence and impact, positioning itself as a key actor in digital transformation. A study found these referents are focusing on “the creation of a data fostered culture, the development of an analysis strategy and guarantee of data compliance”, making efforts to show a measurable value to multiple parties interested in the business.
These executives are asked to assume more strategic objectives, and to lead digital transformation efforts. They must offer valuable and accessible data, that “x-rays” the business and enable more intelligent decision making. And in this context, “CDOs who have access to company oriented key performance indicators and multiple commercial partners, have more influence and impact than those who do not have it”, as the authors of the investigation affirm.
The study found that 25% of CDOs lead efforts in digital transformation, and 51% were “very involved”. And the analysis evidences that” it is more probable that an organization has better performance in innovation and is highly effective in commercial value production when the CDO leads or is very involved in digital transformation”.
On the other hand, there are key factors for the success of the CDO: treating data and analytics as an asset; not working exclusively on management and data compliance; focusing on offering return for the investment; creating commercial value, defining commercial results first; increasing data interchange to improve the client´s experience, as well as looking for opportunities for collaboration and to create new value from data; and making sure decision making in the organization is based on them.
On the other hand, in their condition as leaders, data directors need to deploy their communication skills, collaboration and creativity, as in this position, people skills triumph over technical experience and management of innovative technologies.
As far as data compliance, CDOs must develop an adaptable and flexible model which enables them to select different compliance styles for different commercial scenarios. In fact, the most successful companies establish multifunctional teams for their data compliance analysis and initiatives.
Another investigation confirmed that the role of Data Director is more and more established: in 2012 hardly 12% of organizations counted with a CDO, while in 2021 65% already had one. Nevertheless, this other study also detected that the role is not clearly defined yet, as the dependency line, approach and responsibilities continue to change. That is to say, that the role is here to stay, but is still in full evolution. Besides, there isn`t a unique formula in this field, that could be applied to all companies in the same way – so it is important that every organization consciously evaluates their own culture, capacity and degree of maturity as far as data are concerned, and shapes the Data Director role with that in mind.