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Event Highlights: The Chief Data Officer’s role in Business Transformation

On Tuesday 17th January we hosted a breakfast event on the role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) in Business Transformation. The event brought together a collective of thought leaders in our network to discuss a strategic approach to data. We were joined by Interim Chief Data Officer and Data Strategist Julie Screech, and Data Strategy & Governance Lead Andrew Sharp, who provided us with detailed presentations on data-enabled transformation that stimulated our discussion.

Julie Screech

Our first speaker Julie has over 20 years’ experience in Data Strategy, the last 7 of which have been advising organisations that require Executive-level Data / CDO expertise. Julie has worked with clients including Google, P&G, Shell & BSkyB, and has vast experience in transforming the use and management of data as a strategic asset. During the event Julie shared her knowledge of the role of the CDO, as well as the commercial opportunities associated with an effective data strategy, and we have compiled a snapshot of her insights below. If you would like further information on these presentations, or future Laudale events, please contact us.

The importance of the Chief Data Officer

The latest predictions published by Gartner reveal the growing importance of the CDO role to organisations. By 2017, it is reported that 50% of regulated companies will require CDO, by 2019 this will result in 90% of large organisations hiring a CDO, and by 2021, 90% of CDOs will be responsible the ethical use of enterprise data.

The responsibilities of the CDO

The CDO is responsible for driving value from an organisation’s data assets. These include data strategy, the democratisation of data, the effective use of data as a business tool, stakeholder management, data management and governance, and the implementation of data initiatives. The ‘CDO function’ is becoming a key horizontal domain, comparable to IT, HR, and Finance. The CDO is involved in the planning and execution of most strategic digital business initiatives, and will spend more than 70% of their time enabling commercial solutions.

The difference between C Suite Roles

Part of Julie’s presentation aimed to demarcate the roles of Chief Data Officer, Chief Digital Officer and Chief Information/Technology Officer, drawing distinct roles with an interconnectivity that requires conscious management and collaboration across the business.  Interestingly, Julie quoted a recent stat that roughly 68% of CIOs saw the CDO (Data) role as an important ally.

  • Chief Data Officer – Responsible for determining what kinds of information the enterprise will choose to capture, retain and exploit and for what purposes.
  • Chief Digital Officer – Generally responsible not just for digital consumer experience across all business touch points but also the process of digital transformation.
  • Chief Information/Technology Officer – The most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the information technology and systems that support enterprise goals.
Andrew Sharp

Our second speaker, Andrew, has extensive experience in Data Strategy and Governance, and his 25-year data career includes key roles at Royal Liver, National Australia Bank, Scottish Water and most recently as a consultant to Shop Direct Group.  Andrew has a wide-range of experience from leading large programmes, like Treating Customers Fairly (TCF), to heading ‘Data Culture’, and provided us with a presentation that focused on the role and importance of data governance in business transformation. Below are some key takeaways.

What is Data Governance?

Data Governance simply put, is the practice of organising and implementing policies, procedures and standards for the effective use of businesses structured and unstructured information assets. Businesses considered to have a mature data governance would have a clear strategy for data including elements such as data dictionary, data standards, data owners, data stewards, data enterprise boards and a data issues register.

Why do we need Data Governance?

There are a whole host of benefits that come from implementing data governance in your organisation, some of these benefits included:

  • Increase income opportunities  
  • Reduce operational costs
  • Increase operational effectiveness
  • Improve customer service
  • Create standard repeatable processes
  • Provide process and reporting transparency
  • Enable better decision making

Getting Data Governance right

There are key skills needed to effectively embed data governance. Firstly, you need an individual who has a wealth of prior knowledge and experience of the design and implementation of data governance frameworks. Secondly, that individual requires a balanced blend of business, technical and analytical skills. Thirdly, it is imperative that the individual has the ability to sell importance of data to senior management and stakeholders at all levels.

Chief Data Officer’s role in Business Transformation

If you’re interested in our upcoming events or more information on the role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO) in Business Transformation, follow us on LinkedIn.

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