Should Your CDO Become Your Digital Transformation Leader?

What strengths are required to be a great Chief Data Officer (CDO)?What strengths are required to be a great Chief Data Officer (CDO)?

Here are several facts to consider as you begin digitizing your business. McKinsey Global Institute recently reported that data driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers, six times more likely to retain those customers and 19 times more likely to be profitable as a result.  I believe the Chief Data Officer(CDO) can become the catalyst for your team’s digital transformation efforts, the partner your leadership team needs for continuing growth and success.

I spent several days last week in Boston at IBM’s Chief Data Officer Strategy Summit.  There were approximately 200 senior level executives who are leading their organizations’ data and analytics strategies. It was a great opportunity to learn more about what they are currently doing and where they see their team going over the next several years. I thought I’d share the key strengths these leaders shared.

The first strength of a high performing CDO is they must have the ability to play a role in their organization’s growth strategy.  As data and business continue to converge, the next generation of digital leaders must have impact on developing their organization’s strategic direction. The effective technology executive must be able to work with other senior leaders to support the organization’s bigger mission and vision.

A successful CDO needs to know how technologies are changing and evolving. The speed of change is increasing exponentially. There are new technologies appearing every day and some are not going to be around for very long. Deciding which technologies to pilot and deploy are critical to your organization’s success

These leaders must have a network of peers that are using different technologies to know what offers your organization the best solutions that align with your organization’s goals. The successful CDO builds a team of professionals to support their multifaceted goals.

The second strength of a high performing CDO is they must see the future, not only for their organization, but for customers and their markets, as well. The extraordinary CDO identifies new opportunities for their organizations faster! When I talked in breakout sessions, I mentioned the ability to see around corners as a breakthrough capability for these CDOs, many agreed, but weren’t sure how to apply it to their organizations.

I believe an effective CDO can help their leadership teams predict and create their organization’s future. They anticipate where their markets are going to be. However, this not enough. They must be able to shape the future by anticipating what is happening and then getting their organizations to act on it. Faster implementation and understanding where to keep investing is a critical capability for data driven organizations.

The third strength of a high performing CDO is they must be superior communicators and consultants for a wide range of stakeholders. It’s not if they will face challenges, but when. Today, many of these executives are creating governance strategies that help them deal with a changing regulatory environment.

Many senior level executives’ eyes glaze over when we share what governance model we are implementing to protect our customers’ data. Increasing regulation is going to change how we do business, today and tomorrow. This is a hard trend! How you deal with these challenges is critical to your organization’s success.

Today, we talked about three key strengths of a high performing CDO. This is where many organizations are today. Data driven organization are going to disrupt their markets in the coming years. Want to learn more about this emerging trend you might  enjoy How does your Chief Data Officer help grow your organization?

Next Thursday, we talk about how this role is evolving and what you should expect from your new digital leader, your CDO, moving forward. This role must be filled by an individual who is going to help your digital transformation efforts.

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