In just one year, the number of chief data officers (CDOs) has more than doubled according to IT analyst firm Gartner.
A CDO – not to be confused with that other CDO, the chief digital officer -- is responsible for an organization's data management and governance strategy. Generally, the position involves implementing and enforcing policies and practices that enable enterprises to capitalize on the inherent value of the data they collect and store.
In 2014, 400 people held the title of CDO. A year later, that number rose to 1,000, observed Gartner. And as with any new trend, whether in staffing, IT or the intersection of the two, growing pains abound.
"The organizational design of the office of the CDO must clearly take account of the role that data is expected to play in the organization. Most CDOs, however, are new to the role and often have little experience with managing large teams or designing and changing organizational structures," observed Gartner research vice president Mario Faria in a statement.
Adding to challenge is the fact that there's no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem of establishing the CDO role. "There's no one correct way to design a CDO office — its structure and strength depends on how it is used by the evolving organization," Faria added.
In a media advisory today, Gartner said it had identified four different approaches:
Zeroing in on the proper structure is only half the battle. In the end, it all boils down to finding the right people for the job. "It's vital CDOs think critically about what skills and behaviors will be required by the office of the CDO in the short, medium and long term," stated Faria.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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