Q&A with Derek Strauss

Derek StraussFounder, CEO & Principal Consultant of Gavroshe

Q: What is the Remit and the ideal line for the Chief Data Officer?

Should the role of Chief Data Officer report into the CIO or into the CEO or another Business Executive? Should it encompass both Data and Analytics or is it best to focus purely on Data? Is it mainly a strategy role or should it be heavily implementation-oriented? Should the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) report to the CDO? Should the role be mainly defensive (compliance with regulations) or offensive (growth oriented; monetizing the Data of the enterprise)?

These are important questions that need to be addressed up front when establishing the role, and the answers should be reviewed and fine-tuned regularly thereafter so that changes in the larger organization’s goals and structure can be addressed.

Over the last few years, we have observed the CDO Role moving from Defense (Risk & Regulatory) to Offense (Value Creation & Growth). The regulatory mandates may have played a significant role in realizing the need, definition and focus areas for the early CDO functions but that defense-oriented focus is now moving towards positioning the CDO as a key player in business strategy.

It is our experience that the Office of the CDO should address 4 key pillars:

  1. Data Governance
  2. Analytics and Data Science
  3. Data Architecture
  4. Data Development and Operations

These teams may or may not all directly report to the CDO. It is however critical that the CDO should have enormous influence over what is being done in these areas to support the implementation of the Data and Analytics Strategy, for which there needs to be shared accountability.

Due to the crucial importance of Information Security, the CDO role needs to have key oversight of the CISO’s activities, utilizing the Data Governance Council to establish the rules around Information Security.

Regarding reporting line, we have seen many successful CDO’s reporting to either the CEO, Chief Operating Officer, or some type of Transformation or Shared Services Chief. The bottom line is that the CDO is a Business Role, not a Technology Role.

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