Change My Mind: Chief Data Officers Should be Part of IT

Anthony J Algmin

Change My Mind: Chief Data Officers Should be Part of IT

Before you break your keyboard typing your passionate rebuttal, first allow me to state my logic in simple terms:

1 - We can't do much with data if technology is not intimately involved.

2a - Of COURSE data is crucial to the business and needs to be tightly aligned in support of business objectives.

2b - So does the rest of our technology. 

3 - IT's relationship with the (rest of the) business must be pretty bad for us to think leading data from outside the group most influential in what we are able to actually do with data.

4 - Separating the "information" from the "technology" is splitting beyond the atomic-level. If we want to make the CDO in charge of it all and report to the CEO, great! But isn't that what the CIO was already supposed to be doing?

Conclusion: The right answer is to return IT to being an essential, strategic part of the business, and not some exiled group that can't be trusted with anything important.

Okay, I think that sums it up well enough -- can you change my mind?

Anthony

Anthony J. Algmin
[login to unmask email]
Go Make an Impact!

Visit Algmin Data Leadership today!

Edited By:
Anthony J Algmin[All DATAVERSITY Members] @ Jul 12, 2019 - 01:17 PM (America/Central)

Aaron Fuller

RE: Change My Mind: Chief Data Officers Should be Part of IT
(in response to Anthony J Algmin)

I have often thought that it's funny that we have to create a whole new department and C-level executive to care about information because the Chief Information Officer generally cares so little about information. Thus, the existence of the CDO. Should it rightfully be within IT? Perhaps, but IT has burned its bridges with the business when it comes to data management because of their insistence that their job is technology-only. I guess I agree with you in theory but at the same time I've seen the creation of CDO positions as being a positive thing for organizations that are serious about maturing their data capabilities. If we could turn back the hands of time... hahaha

Aaron Fuller, CBIP

Founder & Principal Consultant

Superior Data Strategies 

517-803-0714

superiordatastrategies.com

<a href="https://www.superiordatastra

Anthony J Algmin

RE: Change My Mind: Chief Data Officers Should be Part of IT
(in response to Aaron Fuller)

Aaron,

Thanks for sharing your perspective, and I think those are good points. It also reminds me of what I often tell my classes, that "the easiest part of my job is to talk about how things should be." Even though I had the same beliefs back in 2015, when I became a CDO for the first time, I insisted that my group be outside the IT department. The existing leadership and relationships were too toxic--we could never have achieved our data goals building from within IT. The long-term vision was to build it right, and then we'd eventually merge IT into the CDO's department. Perhaps this kind of end-around strategy would be viable in many situations?

Regardless, I think it is totally fair to agree in theory but deviate in practice. The real world is always complicated, and being "right" doesn't matter compared with being productive.

Best,
Anthony

 

Anthony J. Algmin
[login to unmask email]
Go Make an Impact!

Visit Algmin Data Leadership today!

Michelle Knight

RE: Change My Mind: Chief Data Officers Should be Part of IT
(in response to Anthony J Algmin)

I have been thinking about the CDO role, and I think it takes an interdisciplinary role including IT.  First, I believe the CDO's role is to have IT and business communicate about Data Management. Yes, there may be an adversarial relationship between the two departments. But the data strategy, as set by the CDO, affects both. The CDO, I think, balances the two needs and aligns both departments with the Data Strategy as best as possible. Also, good Data Management may be found across pockets in an organization. This may or may not include IT or some sort of interdisciplinary team.