The importance of data management and business intelligence has allowed a new C-level position to emerge – the Chief Data Officer (CDO). According to research published by Gartner, 17% of large enterprises will have a CDO by the end of 2014. While this position might be currently in conflict with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) position as large organizations are still fleshing out the details, we believe that as the trend continues, the CIO will be mostly responsible for technology and infrastructure, while the CDO will be responsible for the management and analysis of all the data in a large enterprise company. This means that not only will the CDO need to manage the data as an asset to gaining actionable insights, they will also need to manage it as a liability together with the CIO because there could be compliance issues and data breaches are always a concern.
What does the rise of the CDO mean for B2B companies? B2B companies who sell analytics, business intelligence and cybersecurity software will need to start thinking about tweaking their sales strategy to include the CDO. The smart B2B companies will start talking to the newly appointed CDOs and look for ways to build relationships by empowering them with their products. This often means customized solutions, but it might be well worth it if you can be the first one to build that relationship. This is also a great way for new entrants to challenge the incumbents.
Furthermore, the rise of the CDO position indicates that large companies are getting more sophisticated and are really starting to get on board with big data and leverage their data to make smart decisions. This means, vendors will also need to become more sophisticated and expand their product offering in order for enterprises to get deeper and more valuable insight from their data. If the tools that analytics and business intelligence vendors give are not sophisticated enough, the large companies can develop these technologies in-house and let the CDO and his staff do the analytics. The rise of the CDO position is both an opportunity and threat for B2B analytics and business intelligence vendors, depending on how the vendor approaches this new trend in enterprise companies.