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3 Reasons Data Leaders Are Dictating Business Success

In September 2023, the Mozilla Foundation revealed that 25 of the most popular car brands are using their vehicles to gather huge volumes of information on their customers. Between the GPS trackers, microphones, cameras, and vehicle sensors, vast quantities of data are being gathered, with a parallel report by Wired claiming that modern cars can produce as much as 25 GB of data per hour.

But it’s not just data on driving habits and music preferences being collected. Two car brands, in their privacy policies, reference the collection of information about your sex life, and six of them reserve the right to collect your genetic information or characteristics. And, yes, a full three-quarters want the option to sell that data to third-parties.

Whether or not this information should make us excited about the commercial opportunities or queasy about the implications is a subject for another time, but it certainly puts to rest the argument that commercial data collection isn’t now taking place in every facet of modern life. If you’re within visual or audio reach of the Internet, you are a data point to somebody, somewhere. Unless you’re planning to live in a Faraday cage, this is just the reality we live in.

Which, for me, confirms something I’ve long believed to be true – that every forward-thinking business, no matter how big or small, needs to be thinking about…

  • Strategic Data Governance and Quality Assurance Frameworks. 
  • Driving Data-Driven Culture and Decision-Making Processes.
  • Ensuring Compliance with Evolving Data Regulations.

And before you dismiss your own business as being the exception because of its size or budget constraints, please hear me out. Because when it comes to data there are, I believe, NO exceptions. Here’s why…

  • Data-driven innovation is how you take the lead

Every industry revolution follows more or less the same track. The early-adopters gain a big advantage and wind up leading their industry. The followers recognize the gains being made and quickly jump in. Finally, the stragglers figure out that they need to get involved simply to keep up. Right now, in my opinion, the data revolution is already happening and the gains are there for all to see.

This means that, if you’re able to embrace the opportunities that are available now, you have the opportunity to lead your industry.

If you don’t have a comprehensive plan for how to best use the data you’re gathering (and a data leader to help you execute it) you’re leaving huge opportunities (and money) on the table.

  • Data is no longer only accessible by tech giants

The free flow of information on the Internet means that access to data relevant to your business is available to virtually everybody. If you’re not already gathering it (or purchasing it), there are no barriers to getting started.

Strategic development, competitive advantage, better decision-making are all outcomes of even the most basic data strategy. It’s no longer necessary to make “educated” guesses on subjects such as which market to tackle, how to upgrade your product/solution, what price point to select, and a million other business-critical decisions. 

A CDO, for example, will assist you in understanding what data you need, from where to source it, how to interpret and utilize it effectively and efficiently, and how to store it safely and legally.

  • Data compliance failure is one of the biggest risks to your business

On any given day you can type the words “data breach” into Google News and watch as thousands of news articles appear describing the latest companies to fall victim to hacking, data losses, GDPR breaches, and a myriad of other frightening-sounding data-based calamities.

Depending on your level of experience, you’re likely already too aware of the challenges of staying away from these pitfalls. But there’s no getting around it. The fact is, unless we have zero customers, we already hold sensitive data that needs to be managed, protected, and made compliant. None of this should prevent us from expanding our ambitions for data use. 

A comprehensive set of policies around data is, of course, key. But if possible, it’s also wise to have a CDO to audit your data policies to ensure they’re compliant and recommend the most effective ways to protect your assets. And, with apologies to IT personnel everywhere, they can do this better than anyone else because it’s literally their main field of expertise.

Who’s paying for all of this?

It’s critical for a large business to have a full-time CDO protecting their data. The additional revenue they can indirectly (or directly) create, and the exorbitant costs of data breaches they can help to avoid, more than covers their salary.

But what about the small and medium-sized businesses?

By virtue of their smaller operation, their needs around data management are also simpler. Which means, in most cases, a medium-sized business can be served comfortably by a fractional data leader. Under this arrangement, a fractional or interim CDO will dedicate the right amount of time to strategically advance your business goals.. This provides access to all the aforementioned benefits of having a CDO advise you on, and protect, your data, without the potentially high cost and commitment of a full-time employee.

Where can data experts,  CDOs, and the businesses that need them connect and collaborate? So glad you asked…

Introducing the Data Leaders Network!

At the time of writing, we’re perfecting our unique hub for data leaders: the Data Leaders Network. More than just a community, it’s a synergistic blend of expert insights, dedicated mentorship, invaluable resources, and a vibrant collaborative ecosystem. Our platform aims to unite data leaders from diverse backgrounds, positioning them at the forefront of industry advancements. Our primary goal? To amplify collaboration and drive transformative impact among data professionals.

Membership is free but limited to invitation-only access. Secure your spot and apply via this link today.