Defining the Chief Data Officer role is a mistake - Wyatt Partners

Defining the Chief Data Officer role is a mistake

The role & responsibilities of the Chief Data Officer don’t need to be defined.

But people seem desperate that this should be the case.

Take the CEO role. There isn’t a desperate need to define beyond all doubt what the responsibilities & experience of a CEO should be.

Yes there are some overarching principles, but what the CEO of a company will look like and be responsible for is dependent on a whole host of factors.

The CEO of a privately owned DTC $250 million E-com business will likely be a very different kind of executive to the CEO of a £20 billion PLC B2B services company.

Data Leadership is no different.

In fact I don’t think there are 2 Chief Data Officer roles that are ever the same.

If we need to have any definition at a high level, the only sensible definition for a CDO, is “someone responsible for helping the business improve the way they are using Data Analytics to improve performance.”  Outside of that there is not point in trying to define it any further.

Because each business will have a very specific set of characteristics from obvious ones like, Size, Data Maturity, Tech Stack, Sector, Operating Model etc……to less obvious ones like Culture & Team Structures, Reporting Lines & many many more.

All of these factors will bleed into the type of profile a company need to hire for their CDO.

Simply put, a great CDO candidate for one company may not be great for another.

So what we should start doing is caring less about defining what is ultimately just a job title.   And start caring & putting more time into defining what success will actually look like for a business & who is best placed to achieve that.