Market Trends: Chief Data Officer, the New Kid on the Block | FirstRain

Market Trends: Chief Data Officer, the New Kid on the Block

 This is part of the FirstRain Persona Series.

The C-Suite has a new kid on the block; the Chief Data Officer and they are here to stay. Many had predicted the roles of VPs and Directors of Analytics would rise to the C-Suite, and they certainly have.  Forrester reports an increase of 45% in the adoption of a CDO in 2015 and predicts a 16% increase in 2016.

So why is this role on the rise?  The far-reaching collection of data in the enterprise has lead to the need for an executive leader that sits within the C-Suite to establish and preserve the infrastructure around the ever-growing volume of data, and leverage it as a weapon for business development and customer success.

In the past, strategists were left guessing what people preferred and imagination ruled over data, but the times of the Don Draper’s are gone. Now, there is customer intelligence software that reveals customers’ inclinations and can accordingly shape impactful insights that strengthen a company’s business strategy and allows them to scale quickly.

Currently, there is an array of customer intelligence tools and social media platforms that track customer likes, dislikes and measure engagement. If you feel like someone is watching you, well, they are! More than ever, business technology has become an expert in capturing human behavior.

A problem many enterprises face is, what to do with all that data. Gartner identifies this as a core issue; “Business and IT executives regularly claim that information is one of their companies’ greatest assets, but they fail to measure or fully leverage its value”.

Companies have become thorough about collecting information, but many have yet to take the extra step of recognizing data as a bargaining chip.  Too often, a gold mine of information sits in the cloud or is stored in drives waiting for someone to make use of it and connect the dots, but often it is too late.

Digital strategies evolve at a fast-pace and require real-time attention, to market trends, patterns, and changes and have created a demand for Chief Data Officers. CDOs are responsible for bridging the gap between information management and toward actionable insights. Many companies have adopted the role, but many are being left behind in the data-driving race. It’s not just about collecting data, but rather doing something about it.

CDOs are responsible for promoting data access across a company structure and creating awareness in the value within. Forrester explains, “CDOs typically address one or more of four main functions along the data value chain: data management, data governance, data analytics, and insights delivery.”

Data management and data governance

Chief Data Officer’s are responsible for setting a strong, clear foundation for data governance that will foster competitive digital strategies in the next stages of their company’s growth. CDO’s often partner up with CIOs to implement an infrastructure that facilitates data accessibility. The first step of data collection will ultimately measure the results of future business goals and initiatives and has become a key priority in the role of a CDO.

The accuracy and integrity of customer data reports rest in the hands of CDOs and can become a stepping stone to business development plans, strategies, and marketing campaigns.  If the first step of data collection is flawed, future information will have a falling domino effect.

Data analytics and insights

Chief Data Officer’s are not only responsible for the systems and practices in reading data, but also analyzing data, and using analytics to find new revenue streams and growth opportunities. Everyone has a lot of data, but how you use it can revolutionize your business and create better-informed decisions that can grow revenue.

CDO’s must partner with technology business leaders to increase agility and reduce risk but, more importantly, this partnership must be coupled with actionable insights to drive innovation. Research suggests, “As companies shift their focus from collecting data to driving innovation, new business models will emerge in which companies subscribe to insights and business outcomes rather than data and analytics solutions.”

CDO’s are not waiting for market disruptions to react but rather using business technology like FirstRain’s platform to anticipate.  FirstRain delivers relevant real-time information coupled with actionable insights and triggers that help mitigate risks and help CDOs help their employees to dive deeper into niche markets and competitors, giving them a 360-degree view of industry analysis and better preparing them for market changes.

CDO’s play a large role in the business optimization strategy. Not only does data allow a business to reach a niche audience and engage with customers, but it can propel product development teams to create a better platform, website, product and app for a target audience.

Depending on the phase an enterprise is at, the role of a CDO will foster different priorities. For a younger company, the focus might rest around growth and finding a niche customer market, producing aggressive marketing strategy and organic promotion. For a global brand, the focus might rest around customer satisfaction and engagement. But regardless of the stage an enterprise is at, one thing remains imperative; responding to analytics and reports demands the attention of a Chief Data Officer. Welcome to the club!

For further reading on C-Suite persona: