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Data chiefs face ‘herculean task’

Data chiefs face ‘herculean task’

Start with a ‘listening tour’ of what the business needs, advises Forrester

Many data leaders have a mandate to drive differentiation and competitive advantage

Data and analytics skills are in short supply, yet demand for insights is increasing across organisations, notes Forrester.

In a recent report, the analyst firm notes how the role of the chief data officer (CDO) has evolved to reflect this need for organisations to be insights driven.

“Many data leaders have a mandate to drive differentiation and competitive advantage,” according to the report by Forrester analysts Jennifer Belissent, Gene Leganza and Jun Lee.

They ask: “But where do they start and how to they achieve that herculean task?”

To get insights on the role, Forrester recently conducted an online survey and interviewed chief data officers (CDOs) and chief analytics officers (CAOs).

The successful ones start with a listening tour to understand the needs of their business partners, they state. “Together they identify and prioritise potential projects.”

They reach beyond their own teams to build a broader community and foster an insights-driven corporate culture, they state.

Based on the survey of CDOs and CAOs, Forrester prepared this plan for the data leader’s first five months:

The first phase, the 'listening tour', is around discussions on the top issues business leaders face. These include identifying high-value customers, reducing costs or optimising resources.

"Data and technology requirements will follow, but they shouldn’t be the opener," the report states.

The report recommends data leaders to build a community of insights-oriented practitioners.

One CDO calls these extended team members FDAs or “friends of data and analytics”, and they must include IT teams.

IT can be your best friend or worst enemy, Forrester quotes one CDO.

In either case, you’d want the IT organisation in the team, the report states.

“A steering committee or council drawing members from the larger community helps data leaders prioritise initiatives and spread the data culture.”

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