The enterprise data asset looks like the pieces of a puzzle thrown out from a box. Some of them are lying on the table facing upwards, while others are upside down, and in many cases, one piece is covering the other, Achilles Georgiu, director of CEU Business School’s MSc in IT Management Program elucidates the situation by a vivid example. For a long time, we tried to find out the full picture on the basis of what could be seen on some of the elements, the expert continues. But a sand-colored piece might be a Labrador just as well as part of a sandy beach. Nowadays we are probably able to figure out the edges of the puzzle, but we can rarely match the individual elements within, even if all the pieces are laid out on the table facing upwards. However, the business world would need to see the full picture in order to get an immediate answer to certain specific questions that emerge – regardless of what manner the picture itself was originally put together…
The picture itself – i.e. the information and knowledge that can be gained from the data – is extremely valuable for every company. Data analysis is an old branch of science, and there are newer and newer tools available for its experts. Big Data has called into life the profession of data scientist, who needs to possess a considerable understanding of the business as well.
However, none of these are functions that would handle the company’s data asset and its most efficient utilization in its integrity. Although the task could be undertaken by the chief information officers (CIO), they have enough on their plates already. This is where a new officer enters into the picture, the Chief Data Officer (CDO), a person who is, in fact, not that rare to find: according to Gartner’s forecast, by the end of 2015, one fourth of the global organizations will have an appointed CDO.A host of tasks
But who will be this redeemer, what will his tasks be, and what will he have to know? Achilles Georgiu underlines that a CDO is a C-level business leader; he is a member of the senior management, at least in second or third line. Consequently, he is not a computer engineer, an analyst or a data scientist. At the same time, he is well-versed in the technological aspects of data, and even more importantly, he is able to spot data-related business opportunities.
According to onedefinition in the industry, a CDO is a business leader who creates and implements data and analytical strategies with a view to achieve busin ess objectives. He is the one who defines, develops, and implements strategies and methods by which the organization collects, treats, analyzes, and manages the data. Last, but not least, he identifies new business opportunities through efficient and creative utilization of the data. All in all, it is his responsibility to create a business resource from the company’s data asset, and use it to improve competitiveness.
There are several possibilities to accomplish that. As a first step, he can find new methods and possibilities for the exploitation of data already existing at the company, CEU Business School’s professor enumerates. Going one step further, he can complete the data already compiled by the company, from numerous free or paid external data sources, and placing it into a new context or adding new dimensions to it. The newly discovered connections may point to new sources of revenue. Naturally, extraordinary attention should be paid to data security all along: essential data should receive appropriate protection, proportionate to its rank in the revenue-generating capacity of the company. At the same time, it should be remembered that the “health” of the company’s data asset should be preserved: it is necessary to put procedures and systems into place that will assure the exactness, reliability, and availability of the data every second.Don’t lose heart!