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The Evolving Role of Chief Data and Analytics Officer CDAO 2018: Key Takeaways

Tuesday October 16, 2018, by Shailen Salvi

Recently, I attended Chief Data & Analytics Officer, Europe 2018 (“CDAO”) in Frankfurt, Germany, and with Caroline Carruthers, author and leading expert in data-driven transformation, I gave the keynote presentation The Role of CDO in Analytics Institutionalization. CDAO is Europe’s premiere event for data and analytics leaders, and this year, thought leaders gathered to share insights on the new role of the Chief Data and Analytics Officer, whose role has dramatically evolved from what was once a technician type of function to having a seat at the C-Suite table.

This is the first time that my Brillio colleagues and I attended CDAO. Immediately we could see that this is a European-centric event, with participants and speakers from organizations like Vodafone, Opel and Credit Suisse. Over the course of two days, what I found truly impressive was the quality and functional role of each participant. From Chief Data Officer and Head of Analytics to Vice President of Data Science, without question, CDAO brought together the right audience.

The topic of many conversations and CDAO’s central theme was the changing role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO). Traditionally, these individuals reported to the CIO or CTO, but in today’s global world of 24/7 engagement, it’s all about Big Data. Simply put, for those organizations that remain competitive, data is now a corporate asset, and in this context, the CDO’s role has also evolved. So, when developing an organization’s strategy for growth, it’s no longer just about the CEO, CFO and CIO – the CDO now plays a central role, as data analytics is a core enterprise strategy and the focus of major marketplace investment.

Looking ahead, the CDO will become the central driver to institutionalized strategy for Big Data analytics, as their role becomes increasingly critical to the success of any large-scale industrialized data analytics and technology transition strategy. Ultimately, the CDO is the key to the ROI in an enterprise’s digital transition.

I believe that the opportunity horizon for data and analytics lies in the emergence of augmented analytics to really automate the data science domain by combining artificial intelligence with data analytics. This field of augmented analytics will continue to grow and become the next “big thing” over the coming two to three years – and as we approach this new wave of disruption, the CDO’s role will continue to evolve.

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