Chief Data Officer Is The New Superhero Every Enterprise Needs In Its C-Suite Portfolio

As chief data officers become the mainstay of data-driven companies, research firms predict that more enterprises from the healthcare, pharmaceutical, medicine, insurance, and the financial sector will add a CDO to the C-suite portfolio over the next couple of years. A new survey by NewVantage revealed that in the coming years, the job role of a CDO will become crucial to any company that wants to innovate its offerings and boost the revenue model using data. Hence, more and more organisations will embrace the role of a CDO to manage the capabilities across the data value chain.   


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According to a report by the IBM Institute for Business Value, the CDO’s role is defined as:

“A business leader who creates and executes data and analytics strategies to drive business value.”

The role is responsible for defining, developing and implementing the strategy and methods by which the organisation acquires, manages, analyses and governs data. With conversations shifting towards data, business leaders want to take a more centralised approach towards data analytics and data management. Also, with data becoming a critical asset, leading business leaders understand the value of data to leverage new technologies, build capabilities and business models to improve customer value.

In this scenario, there are many who are willing to pull up the seat to the Chief Data Officer and Chief Strategy Officer to shape a comprehensive strategy to drive new product development and improve internal management.

Here are some of the core responsibility areas that CDOs are supposed to address:

  •         Leveraging data for operational improvements
  •         Using data to play to drive revenue
  •         Defining data and analytics strategies
  •         Leveraging data science methodologies
  •         Driving data ethics strategy

With the rise in malicious attacks and data breaches, CEOs are increasingly leaning on CDOs and chief strategy officers to use data effectively and responsibly. Over the years, we will see a spurt in these job roles, cross-functional leaders in the tier-I leadership teams who will be responsible for bridging the gap between data and business agendas, see to the setting of technical and ethical standards and drive the usage of tools required for building and supporting data initiatives.

  • A strong data leadership is a critical step for defining the expertise the enterprise or company needs to understand the strategic opportunities and current capabilities of the business.
  • In a short while, around 90% of large global companies will have a Chief Data Officer (CDO) on their tier 1 leadership team, a leading research firm predicts.
  • With GDPR coming into action and enterprises wrestling with new regulatory changes, these new roles will soon become a standard in forward-looking organisations.
  • With the pressure increasing to break down data silos, the new C-suite roles will pave the way for the ultimate authority to manage, monitor, and assess an organisation’s data processing and management as it aligns with the regulation.
  • The new roles will also focus on core foundational issues such as data organisation, governance and data management and guide the architecture
  • However, these C-suite hires also have the twin task of managing data infrastructure and governance by building a solid data foundation and delivering business results quickly.

Also, from what we mostly hear from senior business executives, a culture change is often the “make-or-break” feature of implementing data analytics effectively within enterprises. Talent and senior management buy-in are crucial to creating a data-enabled business. The role also spans from providing a business-driven leadership team to setting up enterprise-wide data standards, and structured prioritisation.


According to insights from BCG, forward-looking companies which are experiencing the most gains are due to data-driven sales, marketing strategy. Senior most data strategists are leading the charge by adopting advanced technology tools and capabilities supporting advanced data acquisition, mining and analysis. They are also responsible for architecting the data warehouse, taking ownership for data initiatives and adding substantive value to the business.


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Richa Bhatia
Richa Bhatia is a seasoned journalist with six-years experience in reportage and news coverage and has had stints at Times of India and The Indian Express. She is an avid reader, mum to a feisty two-year-old and loves writing about the next-gen technology that is shaping our world.

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