Important Role of Chief Data Officer in a post-pandemic world | Deloitte UK has been saved
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Deloitte’s latest global Insight Driven Organisation (IDO) Survey gathered feedback from over 300 executives, with the unexpected response being that despite strained 2020 revenues for many sectors, 46% of respondents increased their budget for investing in analytics in the last year, whilst 49% maintained their pre-pandemic level of investment in analytics.
Your Chief Data Officer (CDO) is primarily responsible for growing your firm’s data and analytics capability. How are they investing these existing or enhanced budgets to maximise return on investment? What new responsibilities have emerged as an integral part of their role following the global COVID-19 pandemic? How can you, as the executive board, support your CDO?
This article helps you outline your CDO’s responsibilities with a framework that categorises the key capabilities to expect of your CDO, as well as highlight potential gaps which other executive team members could help buoy. Is your Chief Data Officer (CDO) a savvy strategist with analytics, or a catalyst for championing change in your organisation? Maybe they prefer being an operator who delivers data and analytics solutions to the business, rather than a steward focussed on ensuring appropriate governance of your firm’s data assets. As CDO, they need to be good at all four - this role is and will continue to be one of the most critical to your firm’s survival, recovery, and path to thriving following the pandemic and throughout the digital transformation of your organisation.
Due to the varied nature of a CDO’s role, it is helpful to think of them having “four faces”: Strategist, Operator, Catalyst, and Steward. Each face categorises a set of priorities your CDO needs to address.
A CDO must be able to provide leadership in championing the use of data as a strategic business asset to add value and facilitate achievement of business objectives. They must be able to take an enterprise view of data and analytics, building bridges across business siloes and ensure insights enable business and department growth strategies. Strategist behaviours include the ability to:
To efficiently and effectively fulfil a CDO’s core responsibilities, a CDO should be able to balance capabilities, talent, costs and service levels across their organisation. Operator behaviours include the ability to:
To achieve the strategic objectives of the organisation, the CDO must serve as an agent of change and be the catalyst to embedding a data-driven culture throughout the organisation. Catalyst behaviours include the ability to:
Finally, and crucially, a CDO must act as a steward and protect the organisation's critical data assets by effectively guiding the development of a data strategy that will enable the most effective use of these assets, while at the same time ensuring appropriate governance and oversight. Steward behaviours include the ability to:
The CDO role is multi-faceted and complex. It acts as the bridge between data at the ground level and business strategy at the executive level. Tasks such as identifying value creation opportunities from data, leading the build and run of strong data foundations, and embedding a culture of good data governance that yields trustworthy insights across business functions are all imperative for the success of your organisation. Our global IDO Survey further showed the average analytics team only comprises 1% of an organisation’s entire workforce – yet with the significant responsibilities under your CDO’s remit, adequate support of their role and of their team is needed to ensure that analytics investments continue to yield value for your organisation. With such a broad spectrum of expected skills, finding these four faces in a single person is extremely rare and emphasises the need to build an organisational structure that complements your CDO’s strengths.
Individuals will tend to excel in one face more than another. Importantly, the CDO that succeeds in steering their organisation through an unprecedented period of internal and external change is the ultimate Purple Person. Our long-standing IDO readers will recognise this “Purple Person” as one with the perfect blend of ‘red’ technical and ‘blue’ business acumen. The very best will be able to help transition the rest of the key decision makers on the board to evolving into Purple People as well.
There has never been a more pressing time to speak to and support your CDO!
Fuaad Abdool is the Lead for Deloitte UK’s IDO Eminence initiative and a Consultant specialising in data visualisation and predictive analytics.
Fuaad works across industry sectors, finance, automotive, retail and FMCG developing solutions in visualization software to help fast track executive decision making. He also is a facilitator for IDO workshops which helps lead our clients on their digital transformation journey toward becoming an Insight Driven Organisation.
James is a Consultant specialising in analytics strategy and data visualisation within the IDO Strategy and Transformation practice. James works across industry sectors, helping clients to move towards an insight driven approach with data an analytics at the heart of decision making. James is also a key team member within the IDO Strategy and Transformation community of practice with a specific focus on “Got to Market” and eminence.