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The rise, and rise of the chief data officer

The rise, and rise of the chief data officer

Forty per cent of organisations without a CDO plan to appoint one in the next 12 months, reports Forrester.

Chief data officers can’t do it all alone — CIOs must work closely with this emerging leader

Forrester research reveals more than half (51 per cent) of data and analytics leaders work for an organisation with a chief data officer (CDO).

Of those without a CDO, 40 per cent plan to appoint one in the next 12 months.

The chief data officer is no longer the new kid on the block, notes a Forrester report on how CDOs play a leading part in business transformation.

Chief data officers "are no longer data czars", according to report authors Jennifer Belissent and Elizabeth Cullen.

Read more: The chief data officer as CIO and vice versa

The job descriptions of chief data officers have evolved to include leading global centres of excellence, championing business transformation projects and driving new revenue streams, they state.

The report highlights the importance of close collaboration between CDOs and CIOs to ensure successful implementation of data innovation strategies.

These range from embedding artificial intelligence in business apps to commercialising data.

Enterprise-wide information management program has given way to data innovation, they state.

“But the message was also clear that data fundamentals still matter and that CDOs can’t do it all alone — CIOs must work closely with this emerging leader.”

The report notes organisations must ensure the CDOs are not set up to fail.

CIOs and their peers must help the CDO fulfill the role’s mandate.

An important step is to set realistic expectations. “Lofty goals and limited budgets are a recipe for disaster,” they point out.

For instance, a number of chief data officers are concerned they are viewed as "the silver bullet or the saviour in a white horse".

Read more: You can not understand whether you are being successful, unless you are able to analyse data well.

“I’m expected to create a unicorn by the end of this,” Forrester quotes one CDO, who felt the job mandate was unreasonable and out of reach.

“The CIO and business leaders must work with the CDO to build an achievable roadmap with discrete deliverables and clear benefits in the near and medium term,” the Forrester analysts advise.

CIOs have pioneered cross-organisational shared services and can help extend this model to the new misson for data innovation, they point out.

Related reading:

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Tags C-Suiteforresterchief digital officerchief data officerchief data officersDXanalytics unicorn

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