Intelligent CXO Issue 19 | Page 71

FINAL WORD the 21 % shown across all organisations in the UK , but still not enough . To be able to continue thriving , this role needs to be created and filled to implement data-driven change in strategy , working practices and the offering of the business .
There is a key difference between the role of a chief data officer and one of a chief information officer ( CIO ). To explain this , Carolina Carruthers , Director at Carruthers and Jackson and former Chief Data Officer of Network Rail uses the bucket analogy :
“ The chief information officer is responsible for the bucket . They ’ re responsible for making sure that the bucket is the right size , that there are no holes in it , that it ’ s safe , and that it ’ s in the right place . The chief data officer is responsible for the fluid that goes in the bucket , comes out of the bucket , that it goes to the right place , that it ’ s the right quality and the right fluid to start with . Neither the bucket nor the water work without each other .”
The role of the CDO is multifaceted and liable to change in line with key trends happening now and in the future . The critical skill needed is within data – you can ’ t drive change at an organisational level without a background and significant experience in data science . But this also goes beyond ; data interpretation is one of the core roles of the CDO and being able to read these statistics to create actionable insights is one of the biggest skills the chief data officer needs .

The rise of the chief data officer role demonstrates the increasing need to champion the value of data assets , in order to create a data-first , digital business . Historically , the first CDO was appointed in 2002 by Capital One , and Yahoo ! joined them in 2005 with the appointment of their own . However now , only 21 % of companies currently have a CDO and , according to research undertaken by Gartner , more than 80 % assumed the role in the last two years .

Take the FTSE100 companies , for example , where only 37 % have a CDO – higher than
Data governance is a very important part of the CDO ’ s role , including putting measures in to protect stored and transmitted data and creating strategic data access policies , both internally and externally . These policies will help to avoid data breaches , something that is sadly all too common with the rise of increasingly adaptable technology – according to an Atlas VPN report , over 5.9 billion online accounts were affected by data breaches throughout 2021 .
All of this must be done in line with regulations , one of the biggest in the last years being the General Data Protection Regulation ( GDPR ), brought in to enhance an individual ' s control and rights over their personal data . While this is primarily EU-based , the UK still retains the law in an identical form . www . intelligentcxo . com