Today’s Chief Data Officers (CDOs) have to juggle a variety of tasks and roles: tying data strategies to business KPIs, defining and justifying data-driven investments, building trust, and effectively resolving data ownership conflicts. These are just a few examples of the challenges and imperatives modern CDOs face.
As CDOs rise to the occasion, here are a few major priorities to consider:
Formalize the Value of Data
One way for CDOs to unify their agenda with those of other C-level executives is to formally evaluate the company’s information assets. A good starting point is determining the value of the targeted business initiative, the KPIs that will quantify that value, and the data needed to deliver on those respective metrics.
Clarify and Communicate Your (Updated) Data Strategy
Chances are most CDOs have a data strategy in place and have made a point to communicate it. Nonetheless, things move quickly in the data-driven enterprise, and it’s critical to not only update the data strategy but also ensure that all relevant stakeholders are apprised of the new approach. Key focus areas should include growth, innovation, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A), in addition to important matters such as business process optimization, data monetization, regulatory compliance, and data privacy.
Prioritize Change Management
Enterprises are run by people, and people are notoriously resistant to change. Part of spearheading a company’s data-driven journey is implementing training programs to familiarize people with the change. CDOs should also oversee the communication plan and other cultural initiatives—for more on this, check out this previous APEX of Innovation article.
Sponsor and Support Data Governance
CDOs must address data sharing and decentralized analytics to produce high business value and measurable results. The key to achieving this is having high-quality data, an inventory of all data assets, and the proper management of data across the enterprise using data governance.
Measure Business Value Using KPIs
To demonstrate business value, focus on KPIs related to operational efficiency, productivity, customer satisfaction, and innovation. In addition, placing priority on timely data helps CDOs identify trends early, which, in turn, enables business leaders to plan organizational moves in the right direction.
A McKinsey study found that CDOs who form alliances internally are nearly three times more successful than those who don’t. Of course, it’s still also important to form external partnerships with technology vendors, global systems integrators, and analyst groups.
For more on these and other ways CDOs can rise to the myriad challenges facing them today, check out this recent Forbes article.