With digital transformation at its peak, change is a constant. Although the impact of digitization is not new, the digital economy is entering a new age that presents unprecedented challenges for all CXO’s. Digital tools today are invading businesses and changing the way we live, and consume information. These technologies have a pervasive influence on all areas of an organisation, from customer experience to enhanced productivity in operations.
To deal with these challenges and the rising competition today, organisations crop up the need for a single digital leader to streamline all processes in order to achieve their digital goals. According to a PwC’s first annual study of the role, only 6% of the companies have a CDO and nearly 2000 businesses state that they spend more than 15% of their revenue on technological investments in all areas of business. The real question is – does this strike a balance?
Introducing a new C-suite role invariably generates questions regarding roles and responsibilities, division of duties, and reporting relationships. However, the need of this role cannot be ignored. To make this concept clear, the roles and responsibilities of a CDO are briefly described below.
- Knowledge harvesting for enterprise data: Data volume in enterprises resides in every department. Information being the most valued asset of any organisation, it requires harvesting at every step. Segregating information in a methodological manner in such a way that it proves to be of value is the right way to transform information centricity. This wide scale information should be available to answer the required questions at the right time to integrate processes. Given the increased volume and proliferation of information, it is important that a dedicated person works on the same. Having a CDO in such cases is logical to govern the consumption of information at a large.
A CDO system should own the enterprise metadata and provide business and IT staff information that is to be aggregated into a single framework for management needs.
- Implementing best practices based on digital methodologies: Implementing consistent data governance is the key service of a CDO. Often this proves to be a challenge, as data is distributed in various branches of the organisation in different parts of the world. To accumulate and condense this data to bring it to a regular check is a task. This data is the foundation to be used to build digital methodologies to be implemented and transformed by a CDO. Thus, soiled or disconnected data can prove to be a mishap in the operations.
Thus, this function comprises of two major roles – to keep a regular check on data optimization and to build strategies based on this information. A thorough analysis of this information is therefore required to form a strategic view of what a CDO can do better for the organisation.
- Operationalising best practices based on data quality methodologies: Knowledge comprises of semantic disparities in all organisations. Improved and error free information should be catered to by a Chief Digital Officer. More than data quantity of information, quality is what is to be looked for. Poor and inefficient data quality is what results in incorrect decisions and processes. Thus operationalizing data quality is difficult yet an important threshold what a CDO must look for.
- Setting standards for regulatory compliance, data security and data retention: Various countries have different compliance rules to stick to. For example, some countries require 12 years of data retention, while a few require just seven. To keep all process in line with legality and regulatory compliance, a CDo must keep a check on all information to be stored and retained. This also must be refined with data security and compliance mandates. Staying with all these rules is a big task and must be looked after by a CDO team. Non-compliance might lead to regulatory and illegal issues which comes with huge costs.
- Rationalising the tools for information management: In large institutions, there are a number of systems and tools used for rationalising the information management. A key function of a CDO is to rationalise these tools thereby making them easy to use and efficient. Harvesting these tools to produce valuable information is a major function for any CDO. This comes with risk management and enterprise initiatives to focus on the defined goals. This function also includes creating and establishing models in shared competency to stay in the race. This is important to overcome the rising competition and develop a stable environment.
- Establishing data strategy: Information strategy is the core of all functions to be delivered by a CDO. With the help of systems and knowledge of strategy, establishing a plan for data strategy is a focused role of a CDO. Through this, best practices of strategic data planning should be put into use to assign clear roles and definitions to the process. A CDO is responsible for overall implications of data strategy and should reside to collaborate all necessary resources for the same.
All in all, having a dedicated digital leader in place for surviving through the era of disruption is the call of the hour. It’s time for change.