For most of its history, data has been a shielded, hidden part of most businesses, too often lacking recognition as a value-add or business differentiator. Hard as it might be to believe today, for years it was typically the Head of Data Processing or the Data Processing Manager, who held responsibility for ensuring best data management practices across an enterprise. In practice, those roles, often very narrow in terms of responsibility, could only be held by folks with very technical IT backgrounds and experience.
Then, sometime in the mid-80s/early 90s, the CIO role was created, in effect elevating a ‘computing person’ to the Board level for the first time. Still, data ownership fell into a gray area of overlap between a company’s IT and operations departments — IT typically responsible for integration and data functions, operations typically responsible for ensuring that integrations ran smoothly.
Finally, a few leading firms have introduced a new role that bridges the gap between IT and operations and takes overall responsibility for data management: the Chief Data Officer
Roughly 25 percent of large global organizations will have chief data officers by the end of this year, with 65 percent of CDOs working in the United States, Gartner has estimated. Banking, government and insurance were the first three industries to embrace CDOs.
Faced with growing data and business demands, 61 percent of CIOs want to hire chief data officers(CDOs) within 12 months, according to Experian. And the CDO wave is rising across multiple verticals — marketing, advertising, government, financial services, technology and more.
Chief Data Officers (CDOs) are on the rise in regulated industries. Gartner predicts that 50% of all companies in regulated industries will have a CDO by 2017, according to research conducted by Debra Logan, vice president and Gartner Fellow.
By now, everyone knows that there is tremendous potential to capture value through data. From reducing costs by improving quality, to enriching existing products and services through consumer informatics, to innovating by bringing big data and analytics to bear, data is everywhere. It influences everything.
The Administration has a clear a vision of data managed as an asset and data-driven decision-making. The Chief Data Officer is the role primarily responsible for operationalizing that vision. In essence, managing data as an asset means improving links between silo-ed databases and data stores; making information/data easier to find on-line, making it easier for analysts and policy makers to quickly access and transform data into the new formats and knowledge. It means lowering the cost of consuming and using data because we keep having more data to manage.
Legitimizing data: CDOs are also in position to help define and execute a data strategy that will drive their organization’s top-line grown. Establishing a uniform set of definitions, standards and governance practices will ensure consistency throughout an organization and enable informed business decisions.
Success for the CDO is developing culture of data sharing within the organization and planning to make data available to share as part of Agency process, rule makings and IT system design. Data management, well-led by the CDO, should be a profit center for the enterprise, or in the case of a Federal agency, a means to avoiding costs and increasing productivity.
Leveraging data as a competitive advantage: With access to detailed market information, customer data and predictive analytics, an organization’s CDO is in perfect position to identify ways in which this data can be harnessed. Think of an airline leveraging its data to predict a buyer’s price threshold on a particular day of the week.
Inspiring change: With new data management technologies hitting the market daily, the CDO is uniquely positioned to bring insight into how such innovation can transform his or her company’s business. Pushing at the C-level for new technology investment is far more efficient than a bottom-up approach with data employees leading the charge for change.
Identifying new opportunities: The CDO is well equipped to ensure the proper resources are in place to identify potential business opportunities. Think of a global retailer leveraging sales information to target a certain age group or income level with relevant product availability to drive increased purchasing and revenue growth.
The rise of the Chief Data Officer is a transformational change that elevates the importance of data to the top of the organization. Giving the role of data management a seat at the C-suite table allows organizations to be transparent when it comes to the real cost components of data and the value that data can play in various parts of the organization. It’s a view that has long been missing from the corporate agenda.
The primary role of Chief Data Officer is insuring the Agency has the right data usable in the right ways to fulfill its mission.
The Chief Data officer’s role is 1) part data strategist and adviser, 2) part steward for improving data quality, 3) part evangelist for data sharing, 4) part technologist, and 5) part developer of new data products.
From a strategy perspective, the CDO must ensure that enterprise data use is in alignment with the enterprise data strategy and broader business strategy. The enterprise data strategy influences the CTO and CIO agenda by developing a comprehensive roadmap of the data assets and data architecture needed to enable a long-term business strategy.
The CDO is the C-level representative for data governance and data stewardship in the organization. The CDO ensures that shared data across the organization is well-handled from ownership, access, quality, and security perspectives. The leader is responsible for a number of key data governance goals. First, he should define what constitutes shared data across the enterprise and articulate how it is used by the business (e.g., what it is, how it flows, how it’s consumed, what the problems are with it). Secondly, he should define enterprise-wide objectives and a strategy for cross-department shared data management. This includes definition of the long-term roadmap (i.e., the multi-year movie). Next, he should create and improve data governance processes and artifacts, including getting departments in sync and holding them accountable for their responsibilities. He should also sponsor programs of work within and across departments to close gaps in enterprise’s data management processes and drive resolution of cross-department shared data issues. Finally, he should influence enterprise’s business and technology strategies from a data management perspective. In order to be an effective data steward, the CDO must focus and align key leaders from across the organization to achieve the broader data management goals. He must first put in place a data governance lead that will shepherd the cross-department data governance processes and artifacts (e.g., policies, standards, governing bodies). This person will operate the cross-department data governance processes (e.g., running committees, tracking access, reporting on quality), sponsor implementation and usage of data governance tools and techniques, engage in the execution of the data management program of work, and resolve cross-department shared data issues and escalate critical items to the Chief Data Officer for resolution. This is a collective effort. For data to be effectively governed and managed at the enterprise level there must be a broad, strategic vision, a focus on execution, and the governance tools and processes in place to effectively manage this large endeavor.
So, how does the CDO get things done? In order to be successful, the CDO must act as a data evangelist—promoting the organic development of improved data practices and adoption of industry best practices. He must possess superior leadership skills to inspire and motivate staff, excellent communication, interpersonal relations and negotiation skills. He should be well-regarded in the industry and abreast of the latest developments in data management, promoting improved data practices within and across organizations. The CDO is responsible for overseeing work that is highly complex and varied in nature. Therefore, he must focus on the double bottom line, the ability to optimize business performance through data while being able deliver leadership for the common good of the organization.
a Research, design and build visually appealing, modern web interfaces and platforms
a Provide guidance on developing and executing data + tech roadmaps
b Assess current state and direction of a project and identify points for enhancement
c Collaboratively set flexible and functional policies to enable the use of tools, services, and software across DOC
d Identify new improvement opportunities and provide a strategic framework for acting on these opportunities
a Offer data bootcamps through education partners such as General Assembly, University of Maryland
b Provide opportunity to extend training through short-term deployments along side top technologists at the Data Service
c Host workshops on agile methodology and design thinking
a Create and grow a marketplace of agile services (e.g. backend engineering, data science, UI/UX, cloud infrastructure, etc) that enable bureaus to procure tech services at the speed of need
b Stand up an Department-wide cloud sandbox to allow for rapid prototyping and research
c Consider the JV authority at NTIS.
At the highest levels:
We deliver value to our clients (i.e. American people and businesses) and partners (i.e. DOC bureaus, SMBs, American enterprises), by:
◦ enabling experimentation in a safe and collaborative environment.
◦ providing insight on current operations and recommendations for alignment with the industry's trajectory.
◦ providing guidance on and blueprints for open data solutions/alternatives
◦ providing MVPs for emerging open data applications.
◦ helping our clients discover and use DOC datasets.
• Establish a central, shared service that enables any DOC bureau to modernize their technology platforms, in a cost-efficient manner:
◦ delivering faster transaction times for their operations;
◦ reducing internal interaction times; and
◦ increasing responsiveness to our clients - American businesses.
• Offer training opportunities for DOC employees that upskill them to current technology norms, practices and systems
• Create a menu of data services that can improve data management, thereby increasing the efficiency of operations
• Guide bureaus in the production of truly open data sets that are machine-readable and instantly usable (i.e. CSV, JSON, XML)
• Provide a service to enhance discoverability and access to bureau data such that the Public can innovate
Analysis & Utilization
• Build data analytics capabilities to unlock insight and trends, aid the streamlining of operations, and inform decision making
• Demonstrate compelling, modern visualizations of the bureaus’ data to communicate insight more effectively
• Grow and convene a diverse set of user communities that aid bureaus in developing solutions using data assets
• Provide feedback, e.g. user-directed feature requests, to the bureaus on the evolution of their data assets that their clients want.