The new challenges of the Chief Data Officer

In .Data & applied AI, Blogfest-en, Uncategorized by Baufest

In the context of digital economy, data management has become much more important as organizations need to truly understand their data, and trust it.

Thursday 8 - April - 2021

Data does not only help make better commercial decisions (thanks to, among other things, new data analysis technologies, or data analytics), but gives way to boosting innovative strategies at scale.

Originally, the task of the Chief Data Officer or CDO was to ensure data governance and normative compliance, as well as to guarantee the existence of privacy protection so the interested parties could benefit from dependable data. But, with big data and the enormous amount of existing data nowadays, and the need to turn it into knowledge which adds authentic value to organizations through data analysis solutions, the role of the data director is becoming more and more critical. These executives expand their functions and position themselves more firmly every time as strategic organizational leaders.

And this does not only happen in the private sector: for example, in the United States, the Department of State created the figure of the Chief Data Officer and designed for the first time a data director, that besides data protection, “will boost the efforts to benefit from data as a strategic asset, which the Federal Government actually considers a priority”.

Even if 70% of organizations say they need to be more driven by data, the majority is still not profiting from their total value. In that regard, the activity of data directors still presents overly important challenges which will test the role in the short term.

Company Objectives

A recent study, carried out in 10 countries, found that 59% of CDOs report to a company leader (directly to the CEO, or to a key executive who reports to him), which reveals they have become an important part of the companies ‘decision making processes. Currently, 80% of the main CDO´s KPIs are linked to company commercial objectives such as the improvement of operative efficiency, innovation and increase of new net income, customer satisfaction and success, among others.

In spite of the role´s growing importance and its vast responsibility, 71% of data directors have four or less data managers reporting to them.

Challenges and priorities

Among their main challenges and priorities, 62% of CDOs inform that the Cloud is an important challenge, which includes ingestion, quality, governance and privacy of the stored data in Cloud environments, mapping, transformation and cleanup of master data as part of application modernization (SaaS) and guaranteeing the privacy of data in multiple Cloud environments.

On the other hand, 88% informed that metadata is an important challenge, which includes data discovery, dominion identification and classification, assignation of terminology from the company glossary to technical metadata, and mapping of data lineage.

Besides, 50% informed that data are not being used to obtain better commercial results, due to challenges which include “collaboration in common commercial definitions for critical elements of master data, lack of knowledge about data and qualified personnel, and enabling access to self Service data while maintaining compliance”.

As it looks, while they become more prominent in organizations, data directors add challenges in a context which will demand them to be agile and flexible and “juggle” multiple priorities.

Is there a data director in your company? We would like to know how much importance is assigned to the role, and which functions it carries!