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What is the role of CDO, How Do They Help in Structuring Data Functions?

The explosion of data in the world – right from the data collected from the cameras to the data gathered from visitors’ actions on websites – is staggering. With new types of data pouring in and the applications of data analysis becoming vast, companies need to regulate the unprecedented data.The explosion of data in the world – right from the data collected from the cameras to the data gathered from visitors’ actions on websites – is staggering. With new types of data pouring in and the applications of data analysis becoming vast, companies need to regulate the unprecedented data.


This task, more often than not, falls into the hands of the IT department. However, the IT departments are mostly overworked with managing the IT infrastructure of the organization, foreseeing security measures and making changes to applications across various departments. They do not have the right skill-sets or the time dedicated to focusing on data management and data analysis.


This is where the desperate need of a data team and a Chief Data Officer (CDO) comes in. With the progress of organization relying heavily on data, the position of a CDO becomes crucial than ever. There are numerous functions where data takes the central stage and it lies with the CDO to put these data to use effectively. Let’s look at the importance of a CDO in an organization and how they can help to implement the functions of data successfully. 

What Are the Skills Expected from a CDO?

CDO is one of the most taxing and multi-tasking jobs ever. In the recent Big Data and AI Executive Survey conducted by NewVantage Partners in 2019, 67.9% of the surveyed firms have appointed a CDO when compared to just 12% in 2012. Though the need for CDO has risen enormously, the job responsibilities of CDO is still under a bleak line. 

A CDO is not only expected to have complete knowledge and experience of working with data but should also be conscious of the business operations. A CDO must be able to think ahead in terms of organizational growth, conversions, and revenue. Here are a few critical skills that are expected from CDOs.

  • Technical know-how and practical experience of developing data-related applications
  • Well-versed with the industry knowledge of the data software• Hands-on experience in acting as a strategist and an advisory
  • Capable of enforcing strict data security measures to avoid leakages or breach
  • Effective communication skills to break down complex data insights into easy-to-understand business language
  • Ability to understand and decipher information from the data collected
  • A visionary who can think ahead of the growing data volume and keep the applications ready for data management, analysis and quality control
  • Always on the look-out for new and improved ways of handling data
  • An avid technologist who is passionate to learn the ropes of new data technologies
  • Ability to understand the complete working of the business
  • Capable of predicting the results of significant business strategies with data analysis
  • A quick eye and fast hands to contribute in terms of emergencies 

Bringing a Regulated Data Approach
As the volume and applications of data keep increasing, one cannot put a cap on the defining limits of data, which makes the work of a CDO a lot harder. No matter how hard they CDO strive and encourage the employees towards a data culture – to make it a part of their everyday work – some find it challenging to bring upon a structured approach to include data.


However, many times, the data team itself struggles to perform its essential data functions, which could hamper the working of the organization as a whole. The CDO is responsible for bringing about an atmosphere of seamless data operations within the company in making the right and relevant data available. Therefore, a CDO starts with regulating the data collection, data management and maintaining the data quality inside the team. This can include adopting different software and developing new programs that apply to the specific data needs of the business. 


This is where the expertise of the CDO is required. Some data needs to be processed and stored across specific categories. In some other cases, one needs to keep tabs from where the data is collected and observe how the data changes over time. During a few other times, some data needs to process in microseconds or even lesser and made available for real-time analysis. 

All of these situations are crucial as the starting points in the data lifecycle. The CDO is supposed to bring an automated process that regulates a part of these data operations and keeps the data ready for use. Furthermore, once the data is prepared, one needs to adopt a structure in prioritizing the need for data insights for different purposes and implement various algorithms to keep the system running. 

Thus, the task of bringing a systematized approach to data is never-ending and the CDO needs to keep adapting to the changes, current requirements and plans to have complete control over the data. Inculcating a Data Culture As a Chief Data Officer (CDO), the person is responsible for managing all data operations, data collection, transfer and analytics within the organization. However, the exact responsibilities of the CDO differ based on the business, the company’s goals and the existing culture.

No matter the kind of industry they are in, a CDO is expected to not just manage and use the data for operations across the company. A CDO should also leverage the data in the form of actionable plans to provide better products for the customers. With so many companies competing to get the attention of customers, adopting a data-driven culture is the best way to rise to the top of the industry. This is supported by The Chief Data Officer Playbook by IBM in which it is observed that almost two-thirds of organizations have outperformed their competitors after appointing a CDO. 

Practically, the work of the CDO is to establish a data culture in the organization and also facilitate the employees to leverage the benefits of data to its fullest. To make this happen, the CDO is responsible for including and developing relevant Java applications that make the data easily available to the employees. 

Furthermore, some departments may have the habit of hoarding or using isolated data that isn’t shared with the rest of the organization. The CDO has to ensure proper data communication all across the organization and enable departments to access and work with data with ease. Incorporate Innovative Functions of Data

Apart from the usual data functions that are common to all CDOs, they are expected to contribute towards the progress of the organization through innovate ideas. Though organizations are adept at managing the current operations, most do not have any support of planning the future the sure way if not for the data. 

The CDO sits at an important position where one can see the reasons for past failures, predict future downfall and the direction of movement of industries. That’s why the CODEs are expected to pitch in innovative ideas that have a high probability of success backed with the data analysis. The CDO can help with planning long-term strategy, assist in the decision-making process of expansions and mergers with the knowledge of the future movements supported by data.

If the CDO can initial cultural resistance among employees from different ranks, they can influence the progress of the organization and make effectiveness in running the business both inside and outside. 

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Tags: CDO, analysis, data

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