Learning to Fish for Data Insights

A few years ago, the chief data officer was not well known. Now the CDO role is popping up at many organizations as the ocean of business data deepens and the demand for analytics expertise becomes more urgent. Data exhaust will be compounded by the growing number of inputs from marketing, commerce, social media and the Internet of Things.

dataleaders3Data is fundamentally changing the way business is done. But most companies aren’t anywhere close to being ready. Currently, only 0.5 percent of the world’s data is analyzed. According to Gartner, by 2020 up to 33 percent of data will be valuable if analyzed properly. Some companies, however, are staying ahead of the inevitable.

The new IBM study “Teaching organizations to fish in a data-rich future reveals insights from data pioneers who are investing in highly skilled data leaders – roles such as chief data officers, chief analytics officers and data scientists. These organizations have realized that formalizing data capabilities and roles allows them to turn data into business assets and actionable insights.

In particular, companies create business value as they:

  • Make data a priority: Establishing a data strategy and getting stakeholders across the business involved early to set up a framework and processes allows companies to better use data as a strategic asset.
  • Develop from within: Getting the right data skills sets is important, but that can happen not only through new hires but also training within the company to nurture data skills.
  • Free the data: As the volume of data compounds, extracting value becomes more meaningful in the right hands. Companies should share data through the right tools with the right roles, and shift the company culture to place an emphasis on the value of data insights.

While closely linked to the CIO, the CDO and other data roles permeate departments across the business, providing the framework, tools and insights to enable marketing, sales, customer service and finance. Across the board, data leaders echo the direct correlation between data skills, mining data insights and the impact on the bottom line. In this vast new ocean of data, teaching organizations how to fish may be the biggest opportunity.

Previously published on IBM Social Business Insights blog, August 6, 2015

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