The role of a Chief Data Officer is overrated

Every talks about the new kid on the block. The role of the chief data officer is getting noticed more and more. Gartner is praising the role of the CDO for a couple of years now and companies do make moves towards appointing a Chief Data Officer as the leader of the data within the company.  I can even blame myself when I look at the article of Who is guarding your companies data goldmine. But is this role not a little bit overrated?

Justified appointment?

In the digital world of organizations the need of specialized people is always growing. You can say that a Chief Data Officer is such a specialist. A data specialist with a broader view! Chief Data Officers are often positioned in the team of the Chief Information Officer. The difference between the two can be found in the fact that CIO’s are responsible for the functional part of information management and creating a sustainable lT landscape for the company to succeed. The Chief Data Officer on the other hand is taking over a part of the responsibility in the area of the data itself. He or she is a subject matter expert as it comes towards data management and data security. But is being responsible for data enough to justify an appointment of new top management employee?

Chief Data Officer

Chief Data Officers are already appointed by many multinationals around the globe. It becomes more and more mainstream to do so. The value of data is too high to disembark this data ship now. Some sectors such as financials and healthcare were early adopters because of the legislation. However they already proof that a CDO is necessary to fulfill the needs of the company in the area of data and data protection.

The main responsibility of the CDO in the next couple years will be to reunited all the different applications that have data. Structure and Standards will become the important words. However there is downside or a challenge. Companies have to change their way of working with data if they want to become a data-driven organization and benefit. Also this is crucial to the success of the CDO. Changing cultures around data-ownership and behavior of people are his main challenges.

Overrated? No I do not think so…

I have to be honest. I do not not think that appointing a Chief Data Officer is overrated. Companies with vision for the future that contains the factor “data” must undertake action. Positioning the CDO in your company is the most difficult aspect. It is still a new kid on the block and company politics and culture are influencing these kind of moves. However if your company is ready for this move then it is key to let the CIO and the CDO cohere in a great partnership. Because of the overlapping areas this partnership is enabling success. Let me conclude that If your company wants to grow and benefit from the developments in the data area, appointing a Chief Data Officer is necessary for success.