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Rise of the Chief Data Officer

Many IT organizations treat data as a nuisance, rather than an asset. Sybase CTO Irfan Khan (below) told IT Business Edge why successful companies of the future will be those that proactively manage both data and its integrity.

We’ll see a rise in the number of chief data officers corresponding to firms’ increasing reliance on ever-growing volumes of data, Khan told the IT journal. The CDO (not to be confused with the nefarious Collateralized Debt Obligations of the financial crisis) would serve as a conduit between business and IT, owning everyday compliance issues and conducting sanity checks on data quality.

CDOs typically oversee the data management, collection and more throughout the firm, in a forward-thinking initiative some call “data stewardship.” The firm usually keeps the CIO in place, with the CDO reporting to either the CTO or the CEO. Institutions with CDOs include Yahoo!, Groupon and the City of Chicago.

Many CDOs have previously served as vice president of data management services, business intelligence or data management, as well as senior director data architect or database services, according to job aggregation service DBACrossing. Ascending CDOs typically have business, technical and soft skills, and rise to their positions through company ranks.

Chicago’s CDO wants to analyze data sets in search of the time and place crimes are most likely to occur, according to Chicago Sun-Times. Other initiatives could include improving city services through better scrutiny of data from the Department of Transportation and Streets and Sanitation Department.

Business intelligence and analytics will also benefit from this about face in data attitude, especially as firms increase awareness of Big Data, according to Khan. To read the entire IT Business Edge post, follow this link.

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