Vijay Ramachandran in the editor-in-chief of IDG Media.
Why can’t a CIO play this role? Because they are too enmeshed in technology, even today. I believe, the CDO is to the CIO what the CIO is to a CTO—lesser and lesser about the technology and more and more about the business value.
“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”—Jimmy Johnson (Football Coach) When ‘data’ entered the English language from Latin in the mid-17th century as a term in philosophy it meant a ‘thing’ or ‘things’ ‘given’. That connotation is closer to its play in the enterprise today.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.Business Intelligence, 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 has come to chalk out a strategy for managing enterprise data, delivering it to those who can benefit from it and of seeking new revenue opportunities with it.The time is also ripe to take away its ownership from its traditional steward—the CIO.Don’t get me wrong, while the CIO and team might continue to drive data processes, formats and governance, another, very different C-suite executive needs to champion data as a strategic corporate asset. Not the CIO, not the CMO, but the CDO—Chief Data Officer.A CDO would combine tech savvy with business knowledge; be able to deal with the egos in the C-suite, while fine-tuning the RoI of corporate data strategy and communicating the value. Why can’t a CIO play this role? Because they are too enmeshed in technology, even today. I believe, the CDO is to the CIO what the CIO is to a CTO—lesser and lesser about the technology and more and more about the business value.As with a Chief Security Officer, the CDO role will be doomed if operating under a CIO’s purview—all that leads to is a data architect and not a data champion.This is not to suggest that CIOs couldn’t transition into a CDO role. Au contraire. CIOs, specially those with a proclivity for business might be the ideal candidates. This might truly be the path forward for CIOs who consider themselves business executives.Data is the new oil, do you have what it takes to drill for it?