John Salt , Co-founder of OnlyDataJobs
The Information Commissions Office ( ICO ) recommends the creation of a data protection officer ( CPO ), who would fall inside the remit of the CDO , but as of yet , only 13 % of the FTSE 100 list have this role filled – meaning that most CDOs have to take on this aspect themselves as part of their day-to-day operations .
Another key attribute that CDOs need is the understanding of how all this information flows , and how it can be utilised throughout the organisation . This usually calls for different technologies to be used to democratise and operationalise data , as well as to improve security .
This also means ensuring that those who need the data – including both executive teams and front-line staff – have adequate access , as well as being adequately trained so that they can use the data to gain business insights . This empowers the workforce to use data to justify their gut instinct – by having the power to freely explore the data , the organisation can gain an advantage over their competition .
While the above skills are integral to the role , being the chief change agent within the company for creating a data-driven environment also demands soft skills : consulting experience , the power of persuasion , first-class communication skills and the foresight to see how change affects all . These points are imperative , as Gartner notes that many CDOs have faced resistance in creating a data-driven culture – usually due to data showing that the old and known way , might not be the best way .
Should a CDO be internally promoted , or be brought in ? It seems that with the onus being on being a change agent within the company , having a fresh perspective trumps a CDO working their way up through the ranks . According to NewVantage Partners ’ survey , 51 % of executives at Fortune 1000 firms think that a successful CDO must be brought in externally to bring in a fresh perspective , compared to only 14 % of respondents holding the opposite view : that a successful CDO should be a company veteran , who understands the history and culture of the organisation .
It ' s clear that data and analytics are only going to become more influential throughout organisations in the years to come , so the role of the CDO is also going to become more pivotal throughout the change to data-driven processes . In most companies , there is significant potential for improving strategy and vision with data , and with the right technical and communication skills , CDOs will be able to redefine their strategy and analytics to bring impactful success throughout the business . x
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