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The Day of the Technician is Over. The Time of the Chief Data Officer has Begun.

By Andrew White | March 17, 2015 | 1 Comment

Technology StrategyInnovationInformation ValueInformation StrategyInformation LeadershipInformation InnovationCIO First 100 DaysCIOChief Digital OfficerChief Data Officer

OK so I am a little over the top with hype.  And I clearly am a fan of the Lord of the Rings movies.  But ignoring all this, I really felt this message was worth exploring.  I was sitting at the closing CDO panel at our European Enterprise Information and Master Data Management summit.  Our very own Deb Logan was exploring the role, requirements, work and value proposition of the CDO position with three CDO’s.  It had been a long week but it was the perfect way to end it – though it was only Thursday!

Few attendees got up and left the closing keynote – the content was riveting.  We had just spent two days looking at the role of information in IT and business, and it really did seem that we are on the cusp of something important here.  The CDO role is a good old fashioned excuse to do what IT should have done all along, but in many, even most, cases failed to do: exploit the value of information for the betterment of the business.  Too often we focus on technology, vendors, and tools, even to the point of having a technology strategy over and before an information strategy.  Why is it that when we too often equate an “IT strategy” to a technology strategy?  Why isn’t there an information strategy?  They are DIFFERENT.

For example, information is relevant to business leaders, independent of any involvement of the IT department or CIO!  For example, it is quite possible for information to drive a wholly new innovative P&L for the business.  As such, IT plays a role in making that happen, but it was the business that might have conceived of the value prop.  So an information strategy should be developed not from within an IT strategy, but alongside it – and definitely driven from the same business goals that drive the technology strategy.

The CDO is the latest attempt to right this balance.  And I for one was excited with what I heard last Thursday evening.  In two weeks we re-convene in Las Vegas for our North American summit of the same name.  We close with a Master Mind interview with a CDO for even more drill-down on this most critical roles for the digital business.  I look forward to seeing you there.

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1 Comment

  • Hello Andrew,

    It sounds like the CDO panel was a fascinating discussion. I’m looking forward to sitting in on the equivalent session at the US version of the MDM Summit.

    To what extent do you think that the train has left the station for the CIO when it comes to focusing on “information” and not “IT?” We have talking about the CIO becoming a business leader, aligning with business, driving business value, et cetera, for decades. Still the CIO culture is still technology centric. Is it the nature of the corporate IT organization and who moves up the IT executive ranks that will doom – maybe too strong a word – IT to always be focused on technology infrastructure?

    Next, to what extent did geographical differences play into what you were hearing in London? Two of the CDOs on the panel were UK-based with one US executive. Did the two UK folks differ from their US counterpart in anyway?

    Cheers, -carter j