Data is a company’s largest asset – deserving a place on the balance sheet and to be highlighted as the lifeblood of the organisation. But it only has true value when used effectively. If not, a business is floundering in the dark, with unseen opportunities and inevitable mistakes.
Harnessing data is imperative. Responsibility for this generally lies with the up and coming role of ‘Chief Data Officer’ (CDO). With a place on the Board, perhaps reporting to but certainly working with the Chief Information Officer (CIO), the CDO increasingly should be viewed as the ‘data doctor’.
The remit is both preventative and diagnostic. What can be done to better manage the data a company holds? How can the highest possible value be reaped from it? How can it be securely stored, within the strict data protection regulations in each market in which a business operates? What are the potential issues if there is a data breach?
The CDO should be armed with answers or solutions to all of these questions, within their remit of data management and governance.
There are three main areas over which a CDO should have top level responsibility:
- Governance – with new regulations coming into place such as GDPR, varying restrictions and rules about data management and storage between different markets and Brexit affecting how UK companies store data in European facilities, there is a lot to understand, adhere to and be able to confidently explain.
- Information management – ultimately a business thrives on information and this is how decisions are made. Instant access to accurate and up-to-date information can propel a company to success. Therefore, taking action without consulting data from within the business is tantamount to saying history teaches us nothing. Business managers need the CDO to arm them with the best tools for their job.
- Security – the recent Yahoo! breach in which over 1 billion accounts were compromised again puts cybersecurity at the top of the board agenda. Although ultimate responsibility for IT security may not lie with the CDO, it’s crucial that they are aware of the measures being taken and are confident that the protection is more than adequate.
Show me the data.
So, everyone in a business wants data. It leads to knowledge, insight and better decisions. But it has to be beyond reproach, which is a time-consuming and meticulous job. It takes an analytical and questioning mind with superb attention to detail. If you can find the right person for the job, snap them up and retain them. A good CDO is probably your business’ new best friend.