Once considered a discipline in and of itself, data operations has rapidly risen to the forefront of sales and marketing, permeating all facets of business in the information age. Put simply, data ops is the ability to manage, analyze, and extract insights from your data. These are all fundamental responsibilities of modern sales and marketing personnel, often to the same degree as their IT counterparts. Business intelligence is no longer consigned to just the information sector.

What Exactly is a Chief Data Officer?

Gartner defines a CDO as:

A senior executive who bears responsibility for the firm’s enterprise-wide data and information strategy, governance, control, policy development, and effective exploitation.

The line between a CIO and CMO has become so skewed that forward-thinking companies are opting for a Chief Data Officer to take ownership of data processes and management at their organization. Forbes cites that 63.4% of executives surveyed last year say their firm has a Chief Data Officer – a dramatic increase from only 12% in 2012. Despite more organizations choosing to entrust their data to a dedicated C-level executive, there is little consensus as to this position’s responsibilities and qualifications.

A survey of Fortune 1000 C- Level executives by NewVantage Partners reveals some striking statistics.

    • Only 13.5% of companies have assigned revenue responsibility to their Chief Data Officers
    • Just 39.4% of survey respondents identify the Chief Data Officer as the executive with primary responsibility for data strategy
    • 15.5% of firms are still committed to the position that the Chief Information Officer is the primary executive responsible for data strategy and results.
    • 23.9%  report that there is no single point of accountability for data and analytics within their organization

These numbers show a clear lack of clarity about the role that data plays in day-to-day business operations. There is little doubt that data is important. But there is a clear misunderstanding of accountability in maintaining and optimizing this key organizational piece.

Implementing a data-first culture at your organization

The time is now for marketers to become fluent in the language of data. This includes knowledge of data management, processing, governance, integration, and analytics. Collected data such as user engagement, technographics, and demographic/firmographic profiles must all be carefully analyzed in order to determine buyer-readiness, marketing qualifications, and lead assignment.

Letting data drive your business decisions will help:

    • maximize efficiency
    • reduce wasteful spend
    • improve resource allocation
    • personalize marketing materials
    • empower an enhanced customer experience

Analytics and reports have become more accessible than ever, leaving no excuse for sales reps and marketers to ignore data as a component of their decision-making. Placing data at the heart of your organization will help your team make intelligent decisions to drive real business value from the data assets at your disposal.

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