Oakland Group

The Chief Data Officer – Adapting to life in a changed world

COVID-19 has dramatically changed the world for almost every business and individual, not least for Chief Data Officers (CDOs).

In the new normal world no one can be sure what lies ahead, and those data strategies and plans that looked progressive and balanced a few months ago now require a radical overhaul to meet the new business priorities.

And as these priorities continue to evolve, so does the need for the CDO’s plan to be flexible and adaptive.

It’s hard to know where to focus as none of us have walked this path before, but from speaking with a number of CDOs, we’ve identified some key themes:

1. Don’t assume the current strategy and plan are right to move forward with

2. Keep close to the Executive and understand the business imperatives

3. Elements of the role haven’t gone away. In fact, they’ve increased in importance

CDOs tend to cover a range of responsibilities, and many of these have gained greater significance during the crisis. These include:

4. Capitalise on this catalyst for change

However, in the weeks and months ahead, it’s essential that

In a 2019 survey by NewVantage, Partners of C-suite and IT-decision makers, 70% of the challenges in creating a data-driven culture were attributed to people and process. Only 30% were attributed to technology. These challenges have not gone away

Even during a pandemic, instigating a wider cultural transformation across the business remains one of the key challenges for CDOs

Putting insights from data into practice is as much a cultural battle as a technical one. CDOs must lead the charge

So, what are the key takeaways?

Success for any CDO depends on the nature and definition of their role within their organisation. The job has always been a balancing act between showing the business where the next opportunities lie and identifying and reducing data-related threats.

The disruption caused by COVID-19 presents CDOs with a stark new reality, fundamentally changing how they work. But it’s also thrusting them into a critical role in the crisis response.It’s up to the individual and their teams to step-up, make a different and help their organisation strengthen their position.