By Doug Laney
Principal, Data & Analytics Strategy
June 21, 2019
Q: What are a couple major traps that CDOs should avoid?
A: The role of CDOs (or other data & analytics leaders) is about as multifaceted as it gets. And as a nascent role it varies wildly from one organization to the next. Still there are some common pitfalls to be aware of and seek to avert.
Similar to the common challenges other executives face regarding how to manage an array of corporate assets effectively, CDOs face similar ones regarding the organization’s information assets. But when juxtaposed against the way other assets are treated, many CDOs fall into the trap of reinventing the wheel rather than adapting well-honed concepts and methods from other parts of the business. CDOs are often heard talking about information being “one of our most critical corporate assets” but then fall far short of applying true asset management practices. Instead they implementing piecemeal MDM, metadata, data governance, data integration and other “data initiatives” without a true asset management framework, discipline, or mentality.
Another trap is promoting the idea that “information is the new oil.” While this certainly paints a glimmering picture of information’s critical importance and financial value, it creates a limited mental model of information’s full potential. Information has unique economic characteristics that make it potentially more valuable than oil—and more than other physical or financial asset. For example, information can be consumed over-and-over without depleting it, it can be deployed multiple ways simultaneously, and typically the business processes that use generate more information. Information is what economists call a non-depleting, non-rivalrous, regenerative asset. CDOs would be well-advised to bake these concepts into business models, data architectures, and financial models to maximize the economic value the organization generates from available information assets.
To learn more about how to apply the unique economics of information, see the Doug’s book: “Infonomics: How to Monetize, Manage, and Measure Information for Competitive Advantage.”