“Data! Data! Data! I can’t make bricks without clay!”—Sherlock Holmes, fictional detective Businesses and their managements are interested in data, that’s acquired value by being filtered, sifted through, clarified and correlated. They want data that helps build the right product upfront rather than make a product right. They want data that reduces inventory levels, improves the targeting of customers, and boosts profitability. Data. Period. Not mountains of information. BI, big data, visualization, data integration, and the cloud have in the past half-decade helped to transmute the business value of data from base metal to gold. The time clearly has come to chalk out a strategy for managing enterprise data, improving its quality, delivering it to those who can benefit from it and of seeking new revenue opportunities with it. Just as with civilizations, in organizations too surplus leads to the emergence of specialization and specialists. The surplus today clearly derives from the quantum and economic value that businesses think exists in the data that lies within. But is the data specialist the CIO? Or the CMO? Or even the CFO? Or, a new entrant to the C-suite? Chief marketing technologists too are gaining strength, with a whole range of designations in play from ‘global head of marketing technology’, to ‘business information officer for global marketing’ to ‘director of marketing technology’. A recent Gartner study found that organizations with a chief marketing technologist spent on average a third more of their total marketing budget on digital strategies and twice as much on innovation. The CIO and team will most likely continue to drive data processes, formats and governance. Another, very different C-suite executive needs to champion data as a strategic corporate asset and revenue driver. An executive who would combine technology savvy with business knowledge.Can’t CIOs play this role? Again possibly. But these will have to be individuals clearly with a proclivity for business. What do you think?