Is it time to hire a Chief Data Officer?

Posted by Justin Hesser on January 30, 2014

Add some more room in the Executive Suite: Big Data experts are moving in. 

According to analyst Gartner, 17 percent of companies will have hired a Chief Data Officer (CDO) by years end, an acknowledgement of the growing importance that information analytics have in business. While in the past, these responsibilities could have been handled by a Chief Information Officer (CIO), the proliferation of Big Data has made managing it an important full-time job. 

Gartner senior analyst Debra Logan explained this necessity. 

"The CIO role is overloaded with expectations and responsibilities," said Logan. "CIOs are expected to have hands-on experience in technology, leading change management programs and project management."

Thus, to offset some of that burden and help CIOs manage their other goals, this new position has been rising in popularity. The role of the Chief Data Officer is more than just teaching your employees how to use FileMaker. Rather, the position helps organize and guide your company's analytical and information-based efforts. While having access to vast amounts of data is a potentially powerful tool, it's equally important to use it in a productive and judicious manner. 

It's important that the information doesn't end with the CDO. Instead, this role can be a valuable connector of different departments, and should become a useful liaison between the piles of numbers you're able to collect, and the financial officers who have to make sense of it all. This person could potentially serve as an advisor and an analyst, somebody who can make sense of what could otherwise be misleading data.