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Foundation issues for the Chief Data Officer

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What is the function of the Chief Data Officer (CDO)? In particular, what are the issues and problems that face a CDO, and which a CDO should be able to resolve, that are not within the compass of a CIO?

In effect, why do you need a CDO? When do you need a CDO? What makes a CDO different?

One set of answers to that is the business responsibility mentioned in the Wikipedia description, and the whole question of what data is required and how it should be exploited. That is not what we will discuss in this paper. Here we are going to consider more fundamental issues. Before a CDO can think sensibly about what data the business might want to leverage, whether now or in the future, he or she is going to have to get a handle on the data assets that the company already possesses. In particular, these need to be discovered, understood, governed and secured, all of which are exacerbated by the scale and, especially, by the complexity of your data landscape.

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