Calling All Chief Data Officers

Many thanks to Brian Moran for sharing a bit of information from Gartner – about Chief Data Officers; is this in your future? It’s interesting because clearly this is something that needs addressing for systems, and “addressing” is going to take on all new meanings as we define data and how it’s stored, used, etc.

The report indicates that by 2019, 90% of larger companies will have a Chief Data Officer. (link to the Gartner page) I think this is a really important thing to be considering, because it suggests a number of things that data platform folks (like all of us) can be considering.

First, if there is a “C” level position for this, there will be other levels of responsibility too. So I could easily see the infrastructure around this position including resources that may be responsible for data interchanges, security, compliance, etc. So, as you consider the “where to next” question as you look at your own career, perhaps one of the areas to be thinking about is the this whole data management at a company level and what it entails.

“Data,” it seems to me, will have to be defined – really, it could be anything, and with devices and IoT and all of the things that create new data and information expanding, you can see that there will have to be much more active management of that resource.

I think we’ll need to be considering pretty much everything a “traditional” DBA would be considering today – security, flows of information, toolsets, uses of information, etc. But I think it might make a lot of sense to pull back from the specific toolset (SQL Server, Oracle, NoSQL, whatever) and start with the information, then with the tools used.

It’s sort of a position that follows the whole “start with the end in mind” rather than the source.

One of the interesting points in that post that certainly seems true due to the fluid nature of all of this is this:

CDOs will face a number of challenges, to the extent that only 50 percent will be successful by the end of 2019. One challenge is that the role will be new in most organizations and most new CDOs will be learning on the job. They will have the difficult task of creating an information strategy with relevant metrics that tie the activities of their team to measurable business outcomes.

It’s moving so quickly. And the expectations for that position and those behind the position, will be huge. I chuckled, too, at defining the metrics that would outline success/failure of the group – it’ll be interesting to see how that works out.

I really like the idea. You’ll still have the mechanics of providing data as a service (yay, another AAS acronym, sorry), to your stakeholders, still need management of servers and/or cloud resources and all that. But pulling up a level I think could make a lot of sense, and it’s a pretty intriguing proposition.