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Decoding the Role of a Chief Data Officer

In 2022 alone, 97 billion zettabytes of data were created, captured, or consumed globally. As the number of IoT devices grows, data from consumers and industries is expected to increase even more. So, how can companies leverage this?

The answer: data-driven transformation.

In recent years, the role has evolved rapidly and has been a key factor in the success of several companies. According to a report by NewVantage Partners, only 12% of Fortune 1000 companies had a CDO in 2012. This number has significantly increased now to 82.6% in 2023.

With so many Fortune 1000 companies attributing their success to their CDOs, it’s time for mid-sized companies to follow suit!

Don’t Have a CDO Yet? Here’s What’s Happening at Your Organization

Inefficient Data Storage and Integration 

Data accuracy and reliability should be of utmost importance in any organization. Outdated or inaccurate data can provide the wrong information, leading to bad decisions.

Data Security Risks and Ethical Concerns

Are you absolutely sure that your data and your customer’s data are secure? It is quite easy to overlook data usage standards during product development. Just one wrong step, or wrongful usage of consumer data, can bring a multitude of legal troubles.

Missed Opportunities

CDOs can analyze data to gain insights into market trends and user behavior. So, without a CDO, you might be missing out on certain business models or revenue streams that could only be identified through data analysis.

Operational Inefficiencies

Data can also be used to understand and measure the efficiency of internal processes. Without input from a CDO, you may be operating inefficiently, leading to low productivity and higher costs. You might not be using your resources optimally and have made a lot of wasteful investments.

What’s at stake? 

Data security risks are exponentially dangerous in industries like financial services and healthcare that deal with highly sensitive data. Since January 2018, there have been 2,260 financial data breaches, with over 200 million affected accounts.

The lack of a CDO can further increase vulnerabilities like data breaches, fraud, and regulatory non-compliance. For such companies, the CDO is not just managing the data but also safeguarding the company’s reputation and protecting the well-being of the customers.

The Rise of Data Is Unstoppable

Today, data is no longer just an asset. Rather, it is the foundation of modern businesses. Data-centric businesses thrive on the potential of data-driven strategies and decision-making.

But there’s more to data than meets the eye. Most medium-sized businesses have vast repositories of untapped assets, from user behavior to market trends. For such organizations, a CDO is exactly what they lack—the key factor that can take the company to greater heights.

By diving deep into the data, a CDO can monitor trends to forecast and predict new business opportunities. User behavior can be analyzed to tailor better user experiences. Your product can have a transparent data journey that builds trust and respects the user’s privacy.


A CDO’s Contribution to the Success of Today’s Companies Is Vital 

Diana Schildhouse, the Chief Analytics and Insights Officer at Colgate-Palmolive since 2021, is committed to using data and analytics to drive business growth. The company has analyzed multiple data sources to understand its consumers’ needs and concerns. This led them to predict trends and conceptualize their new products to cater to these trends. Today, Colgate-Palmolive stands as a global enterprise with a revenue of $18B and holds the top position in oral care worldwide.

Similarly, Katia Walsh, the Chief Global Strategy and AI Officer at Levi Strauss in 2019, introduced several successful data-driven initiatives to the company. Levi Strauss & Co.’s digital transformation thrived by adopting a data-driven approach and embracing agility amidst its 168-year legacy. By using computer vision and AI, customers can now virtually try on the products. Levi’s also accurately provides product recommendations based on the customers’ browsing and purchase behavior. 

Data and AI: Steering the Future of Businesses

Every single online action leaves a digital footprint. All of these interactions together generate a staggering amount of data each day—2.5 million terabytes!

As a business owner, if you are not yet leveraging this, you are surely missing out.

But, while vast amounts of data have immense potential for providing insights, the volume and complexity of the data can be overwhelming. This is where AI comes into play.

If Data is the New Oil, AI is the New Electricity

AI, with machine learning and deep learning capabilities, can swiftly scan the biggest datasets to identify patterns and predict trends.

A good CDO often uses AI tools to ease the process of data analysis. These insights can further be used to strategize company processes, personalize user experiences, and optimize internal operations.

Have You Gained Access Yet? The Exclusive Circle of the Data Leaders Network

The Data Leaders Network is a private community for data and AI professionals where you can collaborate with like-minded people in a non-public space, share ideas, learn from each other, and help develop your leadership careers in data. 

The Data Leaders Network is free to join, but it is by invitation only. So, if you’d like to be considered, enter your details in the form below and we’ll be in touch.

Complete the form today, submit your application, and we hope to welcome you on the other side very soon.