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Chief Data Officers to become more visible


Georgina Adamson 2 minute read Data quality

Data is growing at an exponential rate, with the International Data Corporation estimating that sales of technologies and services in this area will grow by 30 per cent in 2014 alone.

McKinsey & Company describes the proliferation of data as exploding, adding that in the future, as a standard, effective utilisation of this asset will become a "key basis of competition."

Aware of this, organisations all over the world are generating, accessing and engaging with an extensive range of data, which is, along with the growing realisation that expertise is decidedly lacking, is "driving the need for chief data officers (CDOs)".

Gartner, which made this statement ahead of its Enterprise Information & Master Data Management Summit 2014 in London next month that in light of this newfound knowledge, 25 per cent of large global businesses will have hired a CDO.

Debra Logan, research vice president and Gartner Fellow, who specialises in information governance, e-discovery, legacy information management and strategic information management, said in a blog last month that already it is evident that the landscape is changing.

For example, today there are roughly more than 100 chief data officers based in large organisations, which is more than double the number working in 2012. That spike is indicative of where things are heading.

The US is leading the way, with 65 per cent of these specific roles based in America. In the UK that figure sits at 20 per cent. Interestingly, 25 per cent of chief data officers are women, nearly double the number of chief information officers (13 per cent).

"CIOs should view the CDO as a peer and partner who can manage data and who has the knowledge, background and skills to do so, which allows CIOs to focus on the more-than-full time job that they already have," Ms Logan explained.

"CDOs are appearing more rapidly in some industries than in others. Banking, government and insurance are the first three industries to adopt the CDO role and in that order. However, we are now seeing other industries following. For example, we saw the first significant appointments in the advertising industry in 2013."