In the digital era, information is a corporate asset that flows through all the areas of an organisation. Large amounts of data that grow exponentially and transcend even the limits of the company itself. This situation causes both the governance as well as the quality of data to become priority issues when providing value to the business strategy, sufficient reason why a growing number of companies are incorporating the role of Data Director or Chief Data Officer (CDO) into their ranks.
Without going into further detail, in 2019, 90% of large organisations will have a CDO, according to the information technology research and advisory company Gartner. The Research Director of the advisory company, Alan Duncan, considers that CDOs are the ambassadors of the new culture of decision-making based on facts and evidence.
But what are the roles of a CDO exactly? This figure is the main thinker responsible for the the interpretation of data: analysing, classifying and converting massive volumes of information into accurate statistics to establish predictive and prescriptive models that assist in decision-making, as well as into very valuable data to improve the performance of the company.
This is a technology professional with multiple facets, whose priorities and roles should be defined. On the one hand, the main responsibility of the CDO is to manage data as if it were a corporate asset; however, the boundaries of this role vary from one company to another, given that some establish a clear line between data and information, whilst others blur this line. Therefore, it should be determined whether this responsibility is shared with other corporate profiles who direct different business lines and have the final say. In this regard, although the Chief Information Officer (CIO) performs a catalysing role, the CDO must understand the business needs and act as a provider of a platform that manages one of the most strategic assets of the corporation: data.
Data quality, a priority for the CDO
Deficient data quality is a constant problem which can cause huge losses for companies. Its symptoms are common in practically all organisations: poor decisions made due to a lack of information, increased expenses as a result of duplicate data or penalties due to regulatory non-compliance.
Within this context, companies must understand that if the quality of their data is insufficient, their results will also be insufficient. Nowadays, it is fundamental to promote a data quality culture in companies, considering this as continual investment in the creation of value deriving from a strategic asset.
Therefore, one of the priorities of the CDO is to promote the importance of data quality with a clear message, one capable of transmitting that the continuity and the growth of the business can only be achieved if data are managed as a corporate responsibility, with the CDO taking the lead.
A consistent and global data quality model
Another key issue within the organisation is the lack of a coherent data model between the different organisational, architectural and corporate areas of the company. In this regard, the governance of data provides a global focus in order to administrate, improve and make the best use of information in a manner in which it is possible to obtain precise knowledge of the data, as well as knowing where it comes from and whether it is in line with the company’s policies.
By placing value in the governance and management of data, it is possible to obtain increased revenue, a greater market share and growth in the range of products, as well as ensure the delivery of reliable data in order to comply with regulations. In this manner it is also possible to optimise the customer experience and improve the efficiency of the supply chains.
Therefore, the CDO must align the management strategy of the information with that of the business and be capable of transforming data into a competitive advantage for his company. Thus he can also ensure that the resources are in the right place in order to identify possible opportunities and create value for the business.