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Understanding the Role of the Chief Data Officer

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As technology and digitalisation propels businesses forward at an alarming speed, new professional roles have had to be created to coordinate, analyse and reorganise a wealth of data. One of the most recent in the senior executive class is the Chief Data Officer (CDO). It’s an appointment with high responsibility that encompasses information protection, data life cycle management and data quality. But perhaps the most significant part of the role is data asset exploitation in order to increase the profit and value of a business.

A Promising Career

Almost 76% of companies in the UK expect to undertake a Big Data project in 2017. By the end of the decade, the overall value of Big Data exploits will benefit the UK economy by an estimated £322 billion, which contributes 2.7% towards the national GDP. As more companies realise the immense financial benefits of digitalisation, the CDO will be much in demand. The UK financial sector has become a market leader with 35% of insurance companies already appointing CDOs compared to 27% in the banking industry. Up to 48% of CDOs in the UK have transferred from sales or customer service careers, while just 29% actually have a background in technology.

Effective Analysts

The number of CDOs in the UK has quadrupled since 2012 and should be installed in an estimated 50% of all companies by 2017. To emphasise the importance of the role, the UK Government appointed its first CDO in March 2015. With direct accountability to the CEO, CDOs will be at the centre of many strategies including policy management, compliance, risk and analytics. As digitalisation takes hold, the CDO will be seen as the link between data strategy, metrics and profit.

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