Updated: Jan 16
Unlike their peers in the c-suite, CDOs are the new entrants and must gain credibility and trust with internal and external stakeholders to stay relevant. This is not easy but is achievable with the right focus and execution.
In this article, I shall provide 7 must-have items that should be on a CDOs agenda - (1) Communicate (2) Influence and manage change (3) Align and connect organizational silos (4) Focus on business value and risk management (5) Enable frictionless data management (6) Leverage people, process, technology and data and (7) Execute by finding a balance between the strategic and tactical.
1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
"The Art of Communication is the Language of Leadership." - James Humes, Presidential Speechwriter
A communication plan defines the what, who, and how - what you will communicate, who you will communicate it to, how often you will communicate it, and the channels you will use to communicate it. At a minimum, CDO communication should focus on the following: (1) CDO role and responsibility, (2) Why data and insights are strategic assets, (3) Core components of data management and data analytics, and (4) how they generate value and mitigate risk for the organization.
2. Influence and Manage Change
"Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast." - Peter Drucker, Management Guru
A CDO is a change agent and must introduce and influence a data culture within the organization, since a dysfunctional culture dooms the best data strategy everytime.
3. Align and Connect Organizational Silos
"Silo walls between business units that impede cooperation and communication need to come down." - Howard Stinger, Sony
Data is pervasive and spans every department within an organization. For a CDO to be successful s/he should use the business architecture, information supply chains, and business value chains to gain alignment between business, operations, and technology organizations and deliver results.
4. Focus on Business Value and Risk Management
"Wealth is created by creating Value." - Randy Gage, Management Guru
Every company has a business strategy and a business model. To gain credibility, CDOs must focus on value creation and risk management - aligned to the business strategy and business model. Value can be created by identifying opportunities in collaboration with the business and operations teams and executing on them.
"Risk is Good. Not properly managing your risk is a dangerous leap." - Evil Knievel, Stunt Performer
Data is foundational to risk identification, risk assessment, risk mitigation, and monitoring.
5. Enable frictionless data management
"When there is friction there is opportunity. Either you solve it for your customer today or your competitor will solve it tomorrow." - Bryan Eisenberg, Bestselling Author
To operate at the speed of business, CDOs must enable "frictionless data management" processes. A prerequisite for this is to document and understand the primary information supply chains and identify areas where "friction" occurs. The next step is to prioritize these areas, based on their impact to the business and then addressing them. Some examples of this could be data quality issues that require significant effort to fix, the non-existence of single version of the truth, lack of timely delivery of high-quality data to consumers, etc.
6. Leverage People, Process, Technology, and Data
"When we leverage, we aggregate and organize existing resources to achieve success." - Richie Norton, Author
Partner with the business, technology, and operations teams to leverage resources at their disposal and those in the CDO organization to solve complex business problems.
7. Execute by finding balance between the strategic and tactical (Stractical Execution)
"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu, Chinese General
Develop a data management and analytics strategy coupled with a set of tactics to achieve it.
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Go forth and conquer!
The only way to win with data is to become data-driven and data savvy. My books will guide you through this process. Order Data-Driven Leadership: A New Leadership Paradigm in the Digital Age and Data Driven Leaders Always Win: The Essential Guide For Leaders in the Age of Data and share their timely, universal, and powerful message with your personal and professional network.
About Jay Zaidi:
As the Founder and Managing Partner of AlyData, my firm and I help leaders derive tangible business value from their data and information assets — to power sales, marketing, innovation, product development, and risk management. Our clients include financial services, healthcare, biotech firms and federal agencies. I’ve led strategic data and analytics engagements at Fannie Mae, Citibank, Hilton Hotels, The DOW Chemical Company, Ohio Edison, Illinois Health and Science, IBA Molecular, and The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. To learn more or get in touch, visit http://www.alydata.com.
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