The Chief Data Officer has emerged as one of the most strategic positions on the executive team. At the same time, it’s a job that’s rapidly evolving as companies worldwide advance their digital transformation strategies and build data and analytics into every part of the business. Here on the APEX of Innovation, we’ve written about the roadmap for CDO success and their expanding role within enterprises, but it’s hard to keep up. Just consider some of these CDO facts below, reported by Gartner:

  • More than half of CDOs report directly to a top business leader.
  • 45 percent of the CDO’s time is allocated to value creation and/or revenue generation, 28 percent to cost savings and efficiency, and 27 percent to risk mitigation.
  • 86 percent ranked “defining data and analytics strategy for the organization” as their top responsibility.
  • By 2021, the CDO role will be the most gender diverse of all technology-affiliated C-level positions. 

To that end, a recent InformationWeek article talked about the ongoing evolution of the CDO role, covering both the challenges they currently face and how to overcome them. According to the article, despite an increase in profile and responsibility, CDOs are still challenged with getting executive buy-in, communicating value to key stakeholders and employees, and bringing about the cultural change needed to become a data-driven organization.

So, how can today’s CDOs tackle these challenges and those yet to come?

One key to success among leading CDOs, discovered by Gartner Research Board VP and program director Mario Faria, was taking a “product management” approach to their jobs. By breaking it down into smaller parts and steps—not unlike a typical product development cycle—CDOs are able to add value and adapt more quickly, and also realize a “positive economic impact” faster.

The InformationWeek piece also interviewed CDOs from German car parts manufacturer ZF Group and insurer USAA on the many hats they wear to succeed in today’s data-driven world. For Gahl Berkooz, vice president of data, analytics, and monetization at ZF Group, one such hat is that of an entrepreneur. Berkooz points out in the article that data monetization is a key objective in his role. This requires him to look for data-driven value in both the company’s core products and in adjacent markets and build new business models to address new market opportunities.

Also featured in the article, Farouk Ferchichi, chief data analytics officer for USAA, discussed the benefits of a product management mindset in his role. He proposed using terms like roadmaps and outcomes for completing work instead of common and vaguer terms like initiatives.

To learn more, including some great insight from Gartner, read the complete InformationWeek article.