The second generation CDO

Authors: Caroline Carruthers, Chief Data Officer Network Rail, and Peter Jackson, Head of Data The Pensions Regulator.

A previous article proposed that a second generation CDO turns the ‘possible’ into an art form, ‘understanding the nuances of the family and making the house a home filled with wonder and intelligence’.

The first generation CDO who landed in the brown field site hopefully will have cleared the site and built good foundations. In data terms this would mean an effective data governance framework is in place and operational, and that the technology is in place to manage and master the data. The second generation CDO has a responsibility to maintain the foundations and keep abreast with technology innovations, however the second generation CDO should be seeking to deliver real value into the business.

The predecessor will probably have delivered the single customer view and created a process for maintaining the quality the of customer data. With these essentials in place the 2nd generation CDO can bring additional value in a number of ways:

·       Advanced analytics and data science: the 1st generation CDO will have created an environment (collecting, storage and management) where data can be extracted and used or advanced analytics to provide customer or operational insight to obvious value to the business through increased revenue, reduced costs or increased market share.

·       Data Narrative: the 2nd CDO will be able to provide narrative around the data. She will be able to make the data tell a story.

·       Data visualisation: the 1st generation CDO will have established quality, governed data, that can be used in data visualisations to communicate messages about the business progress or provide MI dashboards.

·       Publishing data: the 2nd generation CDO will be able to be transparent with data and publish data, either back to the client, into the business or into the public domain, because she has a complete understanding of the provenance and quality of the quality of the data.

·       Data refining: the 2nd generation CDO will be able to drive greater insight and value out the data

If you find that you are devoting much of your time to these sorts of initiatives then you are probably a 2nd generation CDO. In effect though you may be a hybrid 1st and 2nd generation or transitioning your organisation from 1st to 2nd generation CDO. The 2nd generation CDO will be able to take more risks be agile, fail quickly and achieve success fast, because of the solid work done by the 1st generation CDO.


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