Worldbank and Forrester at the Data Disruption Summit – Informatica World 2016

Live from the Data Disruption Summit: The Role of the CDO, with Forrester’s Gene Leganza and The World Bank Group’s Gwen Thomas

Data Disruption Summit
Worldbank and Forrester at the Data Disruption Summit – Informatica World 2016

Two presentations in the Data Disruption Summit focused on the CDO role. First, Gene Leganza, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research took the audience through findings from a Forrester CDO Research project sponsored by Informatica. With a dynamo spirit (or perhaps amped on coffee) he seemed to barely take a breath. But his research was robust and the energy transferred to the intrigued crowd.

The overview: A lightbulb has gone off at last, and business executives everywhere are realising the value of data. Chief Data Officers sit at the intersection of business, technology and data and need to be part of the foundation of any company’s future plans. If data analytics is not yet seen as critical to your organization, you need an evangelist—and that’s where a CDO comes in.

Leganza revealed that the worldwide average for companies with CDOs is currently 45%, with Europe—Germany in particular—and India having the highest percentage of CDO’s, and North America lagging behind. It’s a situation that needs to change if companies plan to compete in the rapidly expanding—and data driven—personalization arena.

Takeaways from Leganza’s in-depth research included:

  • CDO’s need strong people/ communication/ evangelizing skills and need to paint a clear picture of the future
  • CDO’s can help organizations become more data driven
  • CDO’s are data savvy execs that understand your business
  • The CDO role is here to stay!!

Next, Gwen Thomas, founder of the Data Governance Institute and Corporate Data Advocate at The World Bank Group spoke about The Emerging CDO and their Role in Data Governance. Her thrust was illuminating the role of the the CDO, as duties can vary depending on the business. The most important duty, in her experience, is that the CDO ‘owns data governance’.

Gwen presented six questions she said an organization needs to answer to get started are:

1) Are you trying to defend against digital disruption or be a disruptor?

2) Are you a digital native or legacy business?

3) What types of data work are needed—remedial, evolutionary or disruptive?

4) What is the current data leadership model?

5) What is the data leaders’ span of control?

6) Is the CDO addressing “Big G’ or “Little g” Data Governance (or both)?

Taken together, the two speakers presented a rousing call to action for companies lagging in this regard to start taking the necessary steps to a brighter data-driven future.