Key tips on setting up a Chief Data Office

Buy-side financial institutions might be interested in knowing about some quick tips they can harness to set up a Chief Data Office.

Companies focus on creating CDOs
In an environment where companies are focusing increasingly on the importance of data but are finding that their top executives – including chief executive officers and chief information officers – are concerned about other matters, the role of chief data officer is proliferating, according to Building a Smarter Planet.

One way to understand the importance of this position is to observe the statements made by Derek Strauss, who recently became the CDO of a major U.S. online broker, according to SiliconANGLE. The major U.S. online broker created this role for Strauss, who said that only a small fraction of people hold this position. Strauss ascended to his new job at a time when the major U.S. online broker decided that it wanted to make better use of its existing data through the use of more effective analytics.

CDO can partner with the CIO
Buy-side firms that are interested in establishing one of these offices, and appointing a CDO, might benefit from having this key player partner with the CIO, Aditya Kongara and Sunil Soares wrote in an Information Management feature. Kongara is the head of Enterprise Data Management for a private mutual insurance company, and Soares is the founder and managing partner of an information technology consulting firm.

The market experts noted that regardless of who the CDO reports to, it is crucial that he work closely with the CIO. Doing so will ensure that IT and the Chief Data Office work together, instead of competing. In addition, the CIO might be a few levels above the CDO in the corporate hierarchy, in which case the top data officer can benefit greatly from leveraging the visibility of the CIO.

Determine the tasks of a Chief Data Office
Companies looking to set up one of these offices should be sure to figure exactly what they are looking to accomplish by doing so. For example, people holding this role can potentially drive great change in terms of how they leverage their key data, according to Building a Smarter Planet. People who hold this top role can help bolster the quality of existing information, and ensure that it is used more effectively.

When figuring out exactly what one of these offices will need to do, a buy-side financial institution should consider various tasks for inclusion, Kongara and Soares wrote. Before a Chief Data Office is established, the IT department might handle these tasks, the two market experts noted. This situation illustrates how it is crucial for the CIO and the CDO to work together. They said that companies should think about including functions like:

Figure out how the organization will work
It is crucial that financial institutions that want to set up a Chief Data Office determine who its top executive will report to. While a CDO can potentially report to a CIO or COO, a company might have several CDOs for different business functions. These key executives could then report to an enterprise CDO. In this case, a company could have many different Chief Data Offices that work for one central office.

Outline a data management program
Companies that set up a Chief Data Office can leverage this new addition by outlining a data management program. This would involve policies and procedures that identify how data will be stored, verified and harnessed. In addition, the company should develop a process to harness this key information, and then review its utilization.

Once this framework has been set up, a company can follow its newly-created process, assess the results and repeat. By doing so, a company can leverage its Chief Data Office to engage in continuous improvement and strive to make optimal use of its key information.

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