The Growing importance of the Chief Data Officer
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The Growing Importance of the Chief Data Officer | Empiric Recruitment

Published 09/04/2018

The Growing Importance of the Chief Data Officer | Empiric Recruitment

A Chief Data Officer (CDO) is one of the fastest growing roles at a corporate level, as more and more corporate entities come to not only use data but actively rely on it to remain competitive. It has been estimated by Gartner that by 2019 we can expect 90% of large organisations to have a CDO on their staff.

The role of the CDO is not only new but constantly evolving. In fact, when asked about his position at chain supermarket Sainsbury’s, their Chief Data Officer Andrew Day said “At Sainsbury’s, it’s a new role so we’re working through how we work together. But one of the things that are absolutely clear from the time I’ve been in the business is that the business is massively collaborative”. This goes to show how new, how rapidly evolving and how all-encompassing this role can be.


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GDPR will make the case for a CDO stronger

Hiring someone to oversee all data within an organisation has not just come from a profitability and efficiency perspective. There have been a spate of data and this has in turn brought on new data laws as fast as they can be rolled out to combat new threats. Chief among these is the GDPR. These legal changes include but are certainly not limited to an Increased Territorial Scope (not being based in the EU doesn’t matter for your business), increased penalties of up to 4% of annual global turnover or €20 Million (whichever is the biggest) and increased boundaries for consent (no more hiding data collecting in the T&Cs).

Although not strictly required in law to have a CDO, this new legal minefield and rapidly shifting landscape mean that it is now necessary to have someone at the corporate level – someone with the authority to drive change – who can keep track of not only the data within the organisation but the field-wide changes which are happening externally which can then impact the business.

That is not to say, though, that a CDO is mostly about those external factors. Like any other executive position, it’s about helping the business to maximise its potential. With data widely considered the ‘new oil’, utilising it effectively can often mean the difference between profit and loss. Correct analysis of big data drives better informed decisions, uncovers hidden insights and helps automate business processes.

There is not a single business area which is not affected by data now. Even small sole trader businesses can collect and use data as long as they have a website or physical method of collection. Most driven by big data, though, are the areas of Finance, Transportation, Tech and Telecoms. This is in contrast to the industries which have been most disrupted or changed by big data which include but are not limited to Agriculture, Manufacturing, and the Public Sector.
The thing about data is that after a certain point it simply becomes illegible to the human eye. For a few hundred or few thousand cases of concrete numbers plotted against a graph then the human touch is fine, but if you need to analyse literally millions of phone calls for patterns in customer retention or keep an eye on billions of stocks that need traded within milliseconds then it’s time to bring in the big data big guns. Artificial Intelligence.


AI is not so much the solution to the challenges of big data as it is a tool to change the challenge into an opportunity.

You can’t just grab all of your data, throw an advanced algorithm or five at it and then wait for the money to come rolling in. You have to know what you want from your data, how it can best be deployed and for what end goal. You even need to know what kind of data you want to capture before you begin. All of that falls under the remit of the Chief Data Officer and with the right resources and the support from the business, the CDO will ensure that data is used to its competitive advantage.

About Empiric

Empiric is a multi-award winning business and one of the fastest growing technology and transformation recruitment agency's specialising in data, digital, cloud and security. We supply technology and change recruitment services to businesses looking for both contract and permanent professionals.

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Empiric are committed to changing the gender and diversity imbalance within the technology sector. In addition to Next Tech Girls we proactively target skilled professionals from minority groups which in turn can help you meet your own diversity commitments. Our active investment within the tech community allows us to engage with specific talent pools and deliver a short list of relevant and diverse candidates.

For more information contact 02036757777 To view our latest job opportunities click here.


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