The Chief Data Officer and Data Innovation

If you're a CDO, how would you describe your most important role: as gatekeeper or innovator? Or are you walking a tight rope between the two? Those questions figured prominently at the 10th annual MIT Chief Data Officer & Information Quality Symposium held in July.

When the role first emerged, gatekeeper probably occupied most of a CDOs waking hours. Nevertheless, as more organizations became aware of just how much value could be derived from their data, expectations have changed. Yes, CDOs still need to keep enterprise data safe, but they also need to keep the data supply chain running smoothly for data scientists and business analysts.

To make sure that analytics gets its share of the business spotlight, some companies opt to add another title to the C-suite, that of chief analytics officer (CAO).  In those cases, the CDO represents the supply side of the data supply chain and the CAO the demand side.

Regardless of whether your organization has installed a CAO on the demand side, the CDO controls the data supply. And in that capacity CDOs often face the challenge of boosting data-driven innovation without knowing what data is available, where it resides, and what it means. What the CDO needs is a data catalog.

CDO Lifeline: The Data Catalog

When Attivio profiles data sources, it creates a data catalog, which powers its e-commerce-like, “data shopping” interface. So here are three reasons why every CDO pressed to innovate with data needs to start with a data catalog:

  • It supports better, faster BI
    A data catalog removes IT from its gatekeeper role when business analysts and data scientists need access to data. And it provides a compressive view of all an organization's data assets. That means more analysis, faster, with better data.
  • It eases the transition to Hadoop
    Large businesses and government organizations have tons of data locked up in various proprietary applications and data warehouses. Right now they’re trying to manage a transition from those legacy scenarios to Hadoop. A data catalog knows where all your data lives and how to access it, which is crucial when it’s time to classify the business value of data, move it, and determine where it should go. 
  • It fuels data-driven applications
    More and more analytics are being pushed down to the application level. But this requires a truly agile data supply chain that enables your data stack to fuel these applications. And the first building block of an agile data supply chain is a data catalog.

The linchpin of the modern data architecture is the ability to find and understand all enterprise data, across silos. After all, you can’t innovate on data if you don’t know what you have.

 

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