The Chief Data Officer Role: Four Must-Have Skills

What are your expectations from your chief data officer?

Lately, the chief data officer is beginning to make his presence felt in the Indian enterprise. In India, Gartner predicts that the investment in data and analytics will reach US$ 213.8 million this year.  This forecast includes revenue for BI platforms, advanced analytics platforms, analytic applications and corporate performance management (CPM) software.


This only enhances the importance of data. However, so far, the CDO role has only gained traction across the financial services industry.  As the role evolves further and expands to other verticals, the scope and expectations of the CDO role will continue to evolve as well. 


While the  responsibilities of the CDO will vary by organization, Anthony Devassy, chief data officer at SBI General Insurance lays down four skills that are must-haves:


Industry Domain Knowledge: A CDO must possess knowledge of the vertical they work for. For instance, in the insurance sector, knowledge of business processes and products. The best way is to learn on the job.


Data Governance: According to research firm Gartner, the core responsibility of 77 percent of CDOs at financial institutions was on data governance. Devassy says, the CDO must organize and implement policies, procedures, structures, roles and responsibilities that help an organization develop a data strategy and establish accountabilities for the effective management of different data assets.


Technology Know-how: A CDO is a business guy. Therefore, he may or may not possess technical skills. Hence, there’s no shame in spending time with the CTO in the organization in order to gain understanding of core data concepts such as MDM, data warehousing, and predictive data analysis among other things.


Collaborator and Communicator: A CDO must be a good conversationalist. As a data custodian, he spends a lot of time with different lines of business. Therefore, in order to work with different teams, he must know how to put across his view easily and get the work done. For instance, it is a common perception that analytics is an actuarial job, and may lead to friction between the data officer and other executives in the organization. However, a tactful CDO will be able to handle the situation better and work collaboratively.

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