Status of the Chief Data Officer: An Update on the CDO Role in Organizations Today


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About the Paper

Ask any CEO if they want to better leverage their data assets to drive growth, revenues, and productivity, their answer will most likely be “yes, of course.” Ask many of them what that means or how they will do it and their answers will be as disparate as most enterprise’s data strategies. To successfully control, utilize, analyze, and store the vast amounts of data flowing through organization’s today, an enterprise-wide approach is necessary. The Chief Data Officer (CDO) is the newest member of the executive suite in many organizations worldwide. Their task is to develop and implement the strategies needed to harness the value of an enterprise’s data, while working alongside the CEO, CIO, CTO, and other executives. They are the vital “data” bridge between business and IT.

This research paper focuses on an analysis of a number of interviews with currently sitting CDOs in major corporations, along with a 2014 DATAVERSITY survey titled “The Role of the Chief Data Officer.” Some of the many questions this paper asks and seeks to provide answers for include:

  •      How many organizations have or are looking to hire a CDO?
  •      What sort of experience does it take to become a CDO?
  •      Who should the CDO report to?
  •      Do they have their own staff or budgets?
  •      What are the differences between the CIO and CDO roles?
  •      What are some of the pitfalls and unrealistic expectations for currently sitting CDOs?
  •      What should and should not be part of the CDO portfolio?
  •      How is the CDO role going to be relevant moving forward?

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