A report by Experian Data Quality brings together the opinions of more than 40 CDOs and senior business executives, and claims the emergence of the role is transforming the use of data within large companies.

There’s been a shift from IT and architecture to ‘data migration and change management’, which has resulted in larger data volumes and a greater perception of its value, according to Experian Data Quality UK.

With data making a bigger impact on board-level decisions and its value becoming increasingly apparent, the pressure has been on businesses to enlist a senior roles which oversee data’s internal management.

Data Tsars

As a result of recent changes, the report finds that 70% of chief data officers (CDOs) and senior data professionals in large organisations now report directly to the CEO.

“CDOs have an exciting role to play to shape the future of their organisation, with rapidly advancing technology and digitalisation making the appointment of a “Data Tsar”, in some form or another, absolutely essential,” comments Boris Huard, managing director at Experian Data Quality UK.

Paradoxically, Huard adds that technical skills are not considered important by 94% of participants, with CDOs recruited from a variety of backgrounds (see image).

“What seems to be critical to a CDO’s success is the combination of change management and communication skills, tied in with the ability to identify a progressive roadmap that influences not only short-term improvement in data quality, but also enables evolution and disruption of business models.”

Previous research by Experian had found that 92% of chief information officers were ‘calling out’ for a CDO role within their own organisation, with an increasing pressure put upon the importance of data management.