The changing C-suite membership
Posted 2 years ago in Insights

Big data, data lakes, programmatic, DMPs, data science – the data explosion is well and truly here. The fast expanding proliferation of data within corporate organisations is fuelling the prominence of data as an important business asset, particularly when organisations are looking to drive new revenue streams and harness business value.

Historically, data was seen as a necessity to underpin the everyday operations of a business – data like HR details; transactional data; customer complaints; financial accounting. This data was distributed across the likes of Legal, HR and IT. However, business units have often shied away from really understanding their data and becoming data literate, instead passing that on to IT and insight functions. Often though these units themselves do not own the data. This lack of ownership results in dirty, useless data.

More recently firms are beginning to recognise the significant role that data can play in their success, and a growing number of companies are investing efforts in forging a data aware culture.  The first Chief Data Officers rose from the ashes of the financial crisis a decade ago.  The initial reason for this was in response to increased regulatory and compliance demands particularly within the banking and financial services sectors, where new regulatory requirements necessitated better data management.  In time corporates started to recognise the potential power of data as an asset but they struggled to understand how they could organise best around data, as a business function and a capability.  In time, it was recognised that a new organisational role was required to harness the business value of data.

Organisations aspiring to business transformation and who wish to gain competitive advantage need to have a data strategy that can monetise their business insights and use their data assets in new and creative ways.  The Chief Data Officer must demonstrate quick wins that build credibility and that can demonstrate tangible business value.  The processing capabilities of Big Data means that data management methods are enabling organisations to react faster and deliver data results within days and not weeks.  Harnessing the power of this highly dynamic asset is the challenge but the business results will speak for themselves. There are now many examples of Chief Data Officers reporting to key business functions such as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Marketing Officer.  Collaboration and alignment with their Chief Information Officer offers the strongest path to data success and business value. Data is only increasing in value and its importance will continue to rise and having a data vision for the future will help drive that success and for the role of Chief Data Officer.

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