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Doug Henschen, InformationWeek
Doug Henschen, InformationWeek
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5 Priorities For Chief Data Officers

IBM says 25% of Fortune 500 firms now employ CDOs, yet many don't know how to structure the role. Research reveals five imperatives.

Chief data officer (CDO) is on its way to becoming the next hot job, but according to IBM, many companies aren't quite sure what this new role is all about.

"About two-and-a-half years ago we saw the emergence of the chief data officer, but organizations are struggling to understand what CDOs do, where they put that role within the organization, and what these executives are responsible for," said Glenn Finch, global leader for technology and data, IBM Global Business Services (GBS).

About 25% of Fortune 500 companies now have CDOs in place, and more are being hired every day, according to Finch. To give companies a better sense of direction, IBM recently surveyed 37 CDOs from across healthcare, financial services, telecommunications, retail, and manufacturing organizations. This "on the ground" experience was combined with expert perspectives in an IBM study published Thursday that asserts that the addition of a CDO to an executive team supports greater focus and optimized use of data.

[IBM's Kathy Hutson on direct vs. agent insurance sales]

IBM's research finds that CDOs are being tasked to drive innovation and optimize use of data in five ways:

  • Leverage - finding ways to use existing data.

  • Enrichment - augmenting data by combining internal and external sources.

  • Monetization - finding new sources of revenue tied to data.

  • Protection - ensuring data privacy and security.

  • Upkeep - managing the health of data under governance.
"CEOs are saying, "I don't want you to just move and store data better, I want you to figure out how to create a new business model,'" said Finch. "Every CDO we spoke to had at least one monetization request."

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User Rank: Author
8/28/2014 | 8:55:46 PM
re: 5 Priorities For Chief Data Officers
True; as companies gather more data, they need someone who can effectively organize and use that information. CDOs who fully adopt these priorities can prove invaluable to their organization's success.
User Rank: Author
8/11/2014 | 12:25:52 AM
re: 5 Priorities For Chief Data Officers
Finch's statement "I don't want you to just move and store data better, I want you to figure out how to create a new business model" I think perfectly sums up how data management has changed in the past decade. Even as CRM and business intelligence were being adopted by financial institutions and other businesses, the effort was still primarily about data organization and access -- making data "actionable" was more aspirational than reality. Today, if you can't actually use the data to grow and protect the business, you really are not getting a return on your investment.
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