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What is a chief data officer? A leader who creates value from all things data

A chief data officer oversees a range of data-related functions to ensure your organization is getting the most from what could be its most valuable asset.


CIO | October 25, 2017


The CIO article, “What is a chief data officer? A leader who creates value from all things data," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Justin Cerilli about the function of the Chief Data Officer. The article is excerpted below.

Of the new crop of tech-related CXO titles, chief data officer seems likeliest to stick. In most organizations that have one, the chief data officer oversees a range of data-related functions that may include data management, ensuring data quality and creating data strategy. He or she may also be responsible for data analytics and business intelligence, the process of drawing valuable insights from data. Or some data management functions may fall to IT, and analytics may belong to a chief analytics officer, a title that some say is interchangeable with chief data officer.

Whatever their responsibilities, in a recent report on the new title, Gartner called it a “strategic planning assumption” that 90 percent of large organizations will have a chief data officer by 2019. It’s easy to see why. Not only do many companies fear (or have suffered) a negative data event such as a breach, most are struggling with the fundamental dilemma that data presents.

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Often, the problem is unrealistic expectations from an employer. “The biggest mistake companies make is to expect that because they’ve hired someone the problem is solved,” says Justin Cerilli, who heads the data and analytics practice for consultancy Russell Reynolds Associates. “Actually, you’re just starting to solve the problem — the tough decisions are still to come. That’s when you start asking who our people are, what our processes are, and how do we change our culture. CEOs tell chief data officers to change everything to get the end results they want, but don’t want to change the way they do anything.”

To read the full article​​, click here.

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What is a chief data officer? A leader who creates value from all things data