As businesses become increasingly data-driven, the use of big data and predictive analytics to strengthen fact-based decision-making and to help business leaders to identify and act on emerging trends continues to expand across the enterprise.
But as companies continue to spend more on data – including third-party data sources – many companies are wrestling with determining whether the CIO, a Chief Data Officer (CDO), or another organizational leader should oversee the collection, management, analysis, and distribution of data.
A recent survey of more than 500 business intelligence professionals conducted by Booz & Company last year was evenly divided across three scenarios for data ownership:
- Circumstances where IT should take the lead
- Situations where the business should hold the reigns
- The creation of a matrix organization that can bring together expertise from both camps
In many organizations, line of business (LOB) leaders and functional executives (e.g. Chief Marketing Officer) want the ability for their teams to access pertinent data. But LOB leaders and functional chiefs are often reluctant to take ownership of data, particularly if doing so holds them accountable should a data breach occur.
In some organizations, the position of a CDO has been created to oversee the big data/analytics strategy for the enterprise. In some cases, the CDO reports directly to the CEO; in other instances, the CDO reports to the CIO.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that the CDO “owns” data that’s used across the enterprise. In many cases, CDOs act as custodians of the data where they are responsible for governing, collecting, managing, cleansing, and distributing data sets.
Meanwhile, there’s also a case for placing CIOs in charge of data and analytics management. Data management involves a lot of moving parts – databases, data warehouses, analytics dashboards, and other technologies – all of which have historically been managed and operated by IT. Business and functional leaders typically don’t have the background or experience to manage these assets themselves – unless, of course, they rely on third parties to manage these resources for them.