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CIOs face increasing responsibility for data management

Data is one of the most strategic assets businesses hold today. When used appropriately, it can allow for a better customer experience, improved business decisions, operational efficiency and much more. Organizations that are struggling to use data for analytics are falling behind in more than just technology, they are failing to utilize everything at their disposal to run an effective company.

While data continues to grow in importance for businesses, the methods for managing information are just now starting to catch-up. In years past, information was managed primarily by individual departments with vastly different technologies and processes. While that is still the case today in a wide number of businesses, more are starting to realize that data across the organization needs to be consistent and accurate. That means having a big responsibility for data at a higher level, centralized governance and regulation around data, and processes to keep information entry and management consistent.

This need for centralization is driving a number of changes to the C-suite. First, a new chief data officer (CDO) role is emerging. In highly regulated industries, a strong central focus around data is needed. However, while the majority of organizations today need a centralized role for data management, they do not have a dedicated officer like the CDO.

In those instances, the chief information officer (CIO) is often called upon to manage data. In fact, according to a recent Experian Data Quality study of 250 CIOs from large organizations, 52 percent of those surveyed have become increasingly responsible for data management in the last 12 months.

According to the study, the main data management responsibilities the CIO has to focus on are:

  • Improving the bottom line through lowering the cost of compliance
  • Providing platforms and technologies to support analytics
  • Measuring and managing data value and risk

In order to have a meaningful impact on these areas, the CIO needs to centralize a number of areas. Our research has shown that a centralized approach to data management will result in fewer data errors, waste less revenue on data inaccuracies and make companies more profitable overall.

However, saying a centralized data strategy is needed is different than actually implementing it. The CIO will have to spend time on three main areas:

  1. Hire the right people – in general, there is a shortage right now of employees with data skill sets. Organizations need data analysts, but also folks with a business mind that can bridge the gap between business desires and technical limitations. Some of these people will reside centrally, but some will also need to be within specific departments that manipulate data the most. Even in a centralized strategy, the individual departments still need a say and the ability to manipulate data on their own.
  2. Streamline processes – Processes need to be put in place to ensure that data is managed properly and that consistent standards are set across the business. These processes again need to be collaborative between business and IT stakeholders.
  3. Buy consistent technology – Most businesses have different software to solve the same problem across multiple departments. Buy technology that will help keep data quality consistent across all entry points and maintain it over time.

The CDO role is going to continue to become more popular over the next several months and years as organizations try to leverage their data more, especially when data monetization starts to occur. However, for those organizations without a CDO, the CIO will most likely be responsible for any central data management strategy.

The CIO has their work cut out for them when it comes to transforming data management. But, this work will be essential to maintaining this valuable resource.

To learn more about how data is affecting CIOs, download our research report, The role of the CIO in data management

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