Wikibon: People & Relationships Just as Important as Data for New CDOs

InsightaaS: Wikibon is one of the Internet’s best sources of IT industry insight — an open source community of world-leading analysts that has its roots in storage and system research, and has evolved to be a leader in understanding software-led infrastructure, Big Data, and cloud. In this post, Wikibon principal research contributor Jeff Kelly provides an intriguing perspective on Chief Data Officers (CDOs). Kelly begins by noting that data is often secreted in disconnected repositories throughout an organization, and that this leaves businesses exposed to both a loss of competitiveness (as competitors use data to make better, faster decisions) and to regulatory issues. Kelly sees that "enterprises are beginning to take the task of managing and leveraging data more seriously" and are creating the CDO role to increase consistency of and returns from data management - an idea that echoes HDS Canada CTO Paul Lewis's belief (reported in this InsightaaS piece) that data should be treated as an asset, and managed at an executive level.

Kelly goes on to highlight four key CDO responsibilities, including policy development, management and reporting in accordance with internal and external requirements, facilitating communication and cooperation, and "Selling the value of data and spurring adoption of a data-driven mindset throughout the organization – a transformational task if there ever was one." Of these issues, Kelly argues, the communications task may be the most important. He quotes the new CDO for the City of Philadelphia as saying that his job "is 99 percent about people and 1 percent about technology" - which, according to Kelly, is "good advice and a good approach for any new CDO."

Organizations are increasingly coming to the realization that data is a core strategic asset, the new source of competitive advantage. Success in today’s economy is predicated on how organizations leverage data as much as any other corporate function. The challenge organizations face, then, is how to leverage this asset to its maximum potential in ways that are as efficient as possible and also minimize risk.

This is no small feat. It involves data itself (identifying and managing sources of data), technology (tools and systems to ingest, process, store, analyze and share data), governance (ensuring data is used ethically and in compliance with relevant policies/regulations) and people (aligning various stakeholders and business objectives.)

Historically, there has been no one person within the enterprise responsible for the holistic management and use of data. Different departments within the same enterprise — even groups within departments — were often left to their own devices when it came to data management and analytics. The result is that in many enterprises today data is locked in various departmental silos, insights are not shared across departments, there are significant redundancies across departments related to data processing/storage/analytics, and nobody has an enterprise-wide view of how data is used.

This approach — or lack of an approach — is unsustainable and can expose enterprises to significant risk — both the risk of falling behind more data-savvy competitors and the risk of running afoul of legal and privacy regulations. Increasingly, however, enterprises are beginning to take the task of managing and leveraging data more seriously...

Read the entire post: ATNJuly29-link

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