Digitization poses Company Again and again, challenges that can often be solved only by the appropriate know-how of employees. As a result, new job profiles are constantly being created, such as the Chief Data Officer. What is behind it?

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What is a Chief Data Officer?

One thing is clear: there seems to be an increasing need in companies for experts and specialized executives who are familiar with data analysis and the digital world Transformation steer companies in the right direction.

A so-called Chief Data Officer (abbreviated: CDO) is such an expert, who usually acts as a right Hand of chief Information Officers (CIO) acts. While the CIO focuses primarily on the Technology focused, the CDO deals with the content-related use of data and the management of risks. But is that enough to introduce a whole new role into companies?

CDOs on the advance

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The market research company Gartner announced at the beginning of February 2017 that around 2020 percent of all large companies will have a CDO by 80. So far, no data on the proportion of companies with CDOs is available for Germany. The fact is, however, that it does not seem to be particularly high. Research on LinkedIn only yielded around 700 hits for Germany. A number due to the fact that this abbreviation also stands for the position of Chief Digital Officer is used is a little distorted.

In addition to the same abbreviation, the two positions have in common that their field of activity is at the interface of Strategy, Marketing, technology and Innovation is located. One key difference, however, is that the chief data officer, or another C-level manager purely focused on the use of data within organizations, is becoming increasingly important. The volume of data is growing exponentially, so there needs to be someone internally who focuses on both the value of that data and the risks that come with it, such as data breaches.

Increasing the importance of the CDO role

In addition to the multinational companies, the role also increases in German mainstream large companies. Especially in the financial and health sector, where many confidential data are used, the value seems irrefutable. This trend is expected to accelerate as 2017 companies increasingly face the challenge of breaking down their data silos and standardizing data information. There is a growing need for an enterprise-wide, unified data strategy based on centralized data management that enables enterprise-wide data usage. If companies or the CDO succeed in giving all employees access to the relevant data, the company can thus create valuable competitive advantages.

This evolution of data usage is indispensable for future-oriented enterprise orientation. Significant competitive advantages are provided by a company-wide data strategy, especially when implemented with a robust platform that offers a unified view of all company data. An analysis platform is no longer just Nice-to-Have, it is a must-have. It is therefore extremely important that a role is created in companies that are responsible for the overall data strategy. This plays an increasingly important role for business success.

Challenges for corporate culture

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Unfortunately, the new handling of company data that a CDO brings with it is not without its challenges. The biggest is probably the existing corporate culture. If the CDO in that role really successfully wants to be, there is a clear need for organizational changes. The departments should Control transferred about their data to the CDO, who is then the main owner and responsible. This measure is necessary to ensure that all departments work with the same data and tell the story of the company together.

The impact of this change should not be underestimated. In many companies, departments use their own Methodsto work with business data - such as Excel spreadsheets or cloud and desktop-based analytics software. Often these systems will not centrally managed and are independent of all other BI software and analysis tools. These are data silos, and it is often difficult to determine whether they contain the most current and correct information.

A central one System, which allows access to all company data and is managed centrally, is necessary. To implement this successful behavior change, management must first commit to a transparent organizational structure and a clear defined role for the CDO. Only then can he for the entire Organization work and better understand how data can be used to drive business Set to achieve.

Will the CDO replace the CIO?

Everything that has to do with technology is constantly evolving. The same applies to the role of CDO and CIO. However, it seems unlikely that either role will replace the other. The volume of data is growing steadily within organizations, but its use is also becoming more diverse. Since this ties directly into the realm of the CDO, it is much more logical that the CIO's position shifts to the role of facilitator. He is responsible for the IT-Infrastructure within the organization, while the CDO plays a crucial role as the executor and controller of the data analysis strategy. This will be responsible for pursuing the organization's overall business objectives. It is therefore a clear functionally separate role.

Nevertheless, there is a good chance that these two roles will enter into a partnership to realize all aspects of a company's data-driven initiatives. One thing is clear: Any organization wishing to pursue a successful data strategy must seriously consider appointing a CDO.

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