According to a recent Forrester report, in order to translate insights into business impact, Chief Data Officers (CDOs) must understand the competing needs of their business partners and employees. The firm outlines 12 steps CDOs can take to achieve this goal and accelerate data-driven insights throughout the organization.

  1. Establish a mandate to drive the insights transformation with executive support. CDOs must achieve buy-in from key stakeholders across the company to implement the cultural change necessary for more data-driven thinking.
  2. Embark on a listening tour to understand the needs of business partners. It’s crucial that CDOs listen to their peers, focusing primarily on issues such as identifying high-value customers, reducing costs, and optimizing resources.
  3. Establish a data insights council to facilitate collaboration and build consensus. Effective CDOs need collaborators and facilitators and should work towards unifying leaders from the entire company to support their cause and provide access to resources.
  4. Prioritize potential projects based on strategic alignment and complexity. It’s important to be judicious about what projects to invest in and when.
  5. Assess technology needs to build an enterprise-wide data insights architecture. It’s the CDO’s job to determine whether the organization has the right infrastructure and analytics tools required to accelerate data-driven thinking.
  6. Deliver value quickly through iterative proofs of value. Like any new initiative, CDOs must focus first on short-term success to gain support and demonstrate worth.
  7. Build a center of excellence with both centralized and embedded capabilities. According to Forrester, many data leaders have a small team of direct reports but collaborate with a larger data and analytics community across the organization.
  8. Raise enterprise-wide data literacy and evangelize the value of insights. CDOs must launch change-management and capacity-building programs to instill cultural change and comprehensive organizational support for data-backed insights.
  9. Expand the community of insights-oriented practitioners. Forrester recommends that data leaders build a broad community to drive the insights-driven culture they have developed while also scaling data and analytics activities.
  10. Build a catalog of data, digital assets, and best practices. Once assembled, CDOs can use these catalogs to promote the company-wide use of data and the insights they deliver.
  11. Publish and promote the data and analytics services offered by the COE. Forrester suggests that CDOs develop “menus” of the various services the center of excellence provides.
  12. Establish performance metrics based on business value—and do a roadshow. It’s important to measure the impact of data-driven services in order to connect these activities to KPIs such as cost savings, improved customer experience, or revenue generated.

For more on these steps, check out Allen Bernard’s piece in TechRepublic.