Just a year back the ratio of the number of organizations shifting to data-driven technologies could have been only vaguely identifiable. But in today’s day and age, the number has taken a skyrocketing pace. It is inevitable that, to handle the data analytics for an enterprise there must be a dedicated role. Here is when the role of Chief Data Officer (CDO) comes into play. The responsibility of a CDO is much more than just enhancing the data-driven firm and cater to data-driven innovations. In the easiest sense, CDO handles the data strategies, take care of the discoveries, maintains data governance, and ensures data analytics aids the firm in the required way.
Nevertheless, the enterprises are having a hard time to accept the role and what more decide upon its responsibilities. According to a survey by Fortune 1000 C-executives in 2012 only 12% of the firms have appointed a CDO. But, to our good fortunes, in the year of 2018, 63% of the firms said to have appointed a CDO. From this, it can be safely drawn as to how strongly the enterprises feel about having a CDO.
Regardless, as mentioned earlier the talk of the town is what responsibilities can be attributed to a CDO. It is at the Cinderella’s hour when most of the organizations have accepted CDO as a determining post but we still are in this dilemma. Some believe that a role of CDO is to pioneer data-driven transformations and not just data governance and data handling. At times he/she can be even assigned to executive posts wherein the complete burden of strategizing the data trend for the firm lies on the shoulder of a CDO. Pragmatically speaking, as and when the firms’ indulgence in data analytics, big data and AI increases, it calls for a ninth hour need to appoint a CDO.
However, is it easier said than done? While many believe that CDO must take the driver’s seat, some are adamant about allocating them roles of a revenue handler or influencer. And this difference in opinion is delaying the act of acknowledgment of the CDO position. In the same survey, 39.4% respondents agreed that a CDO must take care of the data strategy and handle results within the firm and 60.6% could not define a particular point of accountability of a CDO.
There is an uninformed grey area where the organizations are struggling to agree upon the qualifications necessary for a CDO. Here comes the insider-outsider story. Some are under the impression that a CDO must be from outside the firm to bring insights, while according to some others he/she must be from the inside to handle the organization better owing to a prior understanding. Then, there is the debate on putting them on the executive committee or not.
To add another perspective, some organization relies too much on the CDO and hence, shower additional responsibilities owing to their charismatic or laudable performance. The gamut of these responsibilities includes envisioning data models for business and keep the firm up to date with the emerging data trends. This is in stark contrast to those who believe that the role of CDO is unnecessary.
Where some enterprises are skeptical to make the CDO join the executive committee some other are heavily bent upon shouldering them with much more work than before.