The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of data: Organizations facilitate better decisions and faster course changes during crisis based on what they learn from data. Management and technology consultancy Bearingpoint’s Chief Data Officer (CDO) survey reveals that while leadership roles in data and analytics come with different titles, they all ultimately involve the same responsibility: To drive data management and governance throughout the organization.
More than just data management
The survey findings show that most companies see the data and analytics leader function as a pathfinder to increase competitiveness and address data governance challenges, whereas data security concerns seem to be less pressing. In the consumer and production industries, organizations appoint CDOs primarily due to business factors and the need to derive better business insights using data and analytics. These sectors typically operate in highly competitive conditions with low margins, where innovation is paramount to compete by launching new products and improving operational efficiency. Unsurprisingly, for both financial and public services industries, issues with data quality, regulatory compliance, and the subsequent challenges with data management and governance are the main reasons to introduce a CDO office.
Data literacy and cultural challenges are biggest obstacles
Successful data and analytics leaders bridge the gap between technical and business stakeholders by advocating data citizenship. The survey confirms the general communication challenge between business and technology stakeholders. A lack of data literacy, meaning the ability to derive, understand, communicate and act upon data, is the top challenge CDOs face when increasing the value of data and analytics, said 65 percent of respondents, alongside cultural resistance to change (56 percent) and a lack of talent (49 percent).
While data scientists and engineers play the principal roles in today’s teams, data translators also play a crucial role in using data storytelling to engage and influence stakeholders. The two main challenges, low data literacy and cultural resistance to change, highlight the need for data translators to bridge the digital divide between business and technical stakeholders and expedite the journey to an insights-driven company.
How the CDO can guide a business to success
Organizations with a CDO prioritize differently, putting more weight on customer experience and driving revenue growth. Data and analytics leaders have traditionally focused on delivering services for projects rather than building an enterprise-wide data-driven culture. CDOs and their teams act as impactful change agents driving the data-driven transformation and increasing their company’s competitiveness. In most companies, there is significant potential for improving the setup and ramping up the CDO office. CDO offices should be composed of technical experts and change and communication specialists who speak and understand the business language.