Discussion About Chief Data Officers

Discussion About Chief Data Officers

Data should be managed by those with responsibility for its collection, processing, maintenance, and appropriate use. Data intelligence requires concentrated leadership, broad participation by those who "own" the data, the data stewards and assistance from the data users. If your organization is large enough you might have a need for a chief data officer (CDO). So, we decided to write this blog post on the subject.


There are other resources available as we previously wrote blog posts (Part 1 and Part 2) about chief data officers. Educause wrote an article about the Chief Data Officer position, and it is located here.  

Here are some points regarding chief data officers:

  • A CDO works across silos to define data-related pain points, reporting structures, organization structures and future goals.
  • A CDO supports processes such as change management, reference data management, and proactive communication by working with users and data stewards.
  • A CDO champions an enterprise data glossary and ensures critical data elements are defined.
  • A CDO works with functional teams to continuously monitor key data elements for missing or nonconforming values and take corrective actions before reports are generated.
  • A CDO reduces barriers to data utilization, helps centralize data governance initiatives, raises the user’s knowledge of the data, prevents data silos, and strengthens the drive for data quality.
  • A CDO is an evangelist for data management.
  • A CDO is a guardian of data but must avoid putting in too many workarounds or barriers in place that hinder productivity or day-to-day processes.
  • A CDO facilitates conversations, keeps people abreast of trends and policies, works to assure collaboration, agreement, and understanding.

If you do not have someone at your organization like this then does it sound like someone you need at your organization?

As the amount of data and data systems grows at the organization so do the challenges for a chief data officer such as:

  • Aligning data strategies with business objectives
  • Formulating various data policies and processes that data users embrace rather than see as a burden
  • Not having a data governance culture at the organization or not having an approach to managing change at the organization

And here are some other thoughts regarding chief data officers:

  • It is important that there is a clear CDO job description
  • A CDO needs to have authority from leadership to do their job.
  • This individual must know the business side, have technical skills, and work directly with people to be successful.

We hope this post regarding chief data officers was helpful to you and your organization.  Additional data governance resources (blog posts, videos, and recorded webinars) can be found at www.datacookbook.com/dg.

IData has a solution, the Data Cookbook, that can aid the employees and the organization in its data governance, data intelligence, data stewardship and data quality initiatives. IData also has experts that can assist with data governance, reporting, integration and other technology services on an as needed basis. Feel free to contact us and let us know how we can assist.

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Photo Credit:StockSnap_Y1PI6GQXG1_women_executiveCDO_BP #B1213

Jim Walery
About the Author

Jim Walery is a marketing professional who has been providing marketing services to technology companies for over 20 years and specifically those in higher education since 2010. Jim assists in getting the word out about the community via a variety of channels. Jim is knowledgeable in social media, blogging, collateral creation and website content. He is Inbound Marketing certified by HubSpot. Jim holds a B.A. from University of California, Irvine and a M.A. from Webster University. Jim can be reached at jwalery[at]idatainc.com.

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