Businesses definitely need a CDO...or do they?

15/04/2016 14:43

The C-suite (so named because most of the senior executives it refers to have ‘chief’ in their title) has been growing recently to incorporate new roles mostly created by emerging tech.

One of these new roles is that of the Chief Data Officer, a position that apparently over 25% of Fortune 500 companies have now created.

The rise of big data, has seen many organisations struggle to keep up with all the new laws and regulations and hence many have decided the easiest option is to create a CDO – and then all of that is their problem.


So – is this Really an IT role? 

Well – sort of.  But the role is actually more of a marketing / commercial role as the job is more about enabling the rest of the business by understanding what data it needs, and for what.

The CDO should understand the needs of the business – which in effect means the needs of the workers.  This info can then be fed back t IT to implement the appropriate systems to support that.  This is not really the CDO’s role.


So Does a Business Need a CDO if it has a CIO?

Of course, the CIO is perfectly capable in most cases of performing this role, and that is where the majority of companies are currently leaving the responsibility. However, given the increasing number of tasks and responsibilities that a CIO with CDO responsibilities now has, there is a good argument for splitting the workload.

Especially in view of some research from Veritas which showed that 85% of data is considered useless which might lead one to the conclusion that CIO’s haven’t done an especially great job of managing big data so far.


So – we definitely need a CDO then?

Well not necessarily.  If you run a small company and have a good grip on your data, where it is, what it is and what it is being used for and by whom, then no – you probably don’t need one. 

If you need a strategy developing and thereafter you have the capability to manage it, then perhaps a contractor or a consulting company is a better option.


If you have a Chief Digital Officer you have a CDO


Just because they have the same acronym, they are not the same job.

The Chief Digital Officer helps the business to digitally transform. The Chief Data Officer focuses on an efficient management of resources and identifying new sources of data

Confusion about these roles btw can lead to conflict between them that may result in both making decisions on the same area. Clearly defined roles should help to avoid this.

Remember – whether you have a CDO or not, your data is only as secure as the network it runs on!  

Check out all your networking data needs here

We would love to know what you think – leave us your comment at or tweet us on @itslobsternet



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