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What’s a chief knowledge officer? A frontrunner who creates enterprise worth from knowledge

CDO vs. chief analytics officer

Chief knowledge officers handle knowledge whereas chief analytics officers lead knowledge analytics. Despite the fact that chief knowledge officer and chief analytics officer are two distinct roles, they need to each reside in the identical individual, argues Man Gomis, associate on the recruiting firm BrainWorks.

“I’m discovering one of the best at school are combining the 2,” he says. “Most leaders in analytics need to personal the information technique and the way the corporate treats knowledge, they usually need to personal analytics.” It is sensible if you concentrate on it: analytics is how knowledge supplies worth, in order that’s an important perform. On the identical time, you want an excellent knowledge technique and good knowledge administration, otherwise you received’t get high quality knowledge to investigate. Thus, Gomis says, “Finest follow is having a chief knowledge technique and analytics officer who owns each knowledge and analytics, and works carefully with the CIO.”

To whom ought to the chief knowledge officer report?

CDOs are nonetheless discovering their place in lots of organizations. CIO’s State of the CIO Research 2024 discovered that 24% of CDOs report back to the CEO, 12% to the CFO or prime finance government, and 14% to a different line-of-business government. In accordance with the AWS/MIT survey, nearly 20% of CDOs at the moment report back to the CEO or chairman, over 19% to the CIO, CTO, or another C-level government that experiences to the CEO, and nearly 16% report back to a non-C-level government.

Whereas organizations are quickly adopting the chief knowledge officer function, NewVantage Companions says there’s nonetheless lots of confusion and disagreement on the mandate and significance of the place. Its Information and AI Management Government Survey 2022 discovered that 52% of contributors recognized the chief knowledge officer as the manager with major accountability for knowledge technique and outcomes. In 2022, 48% of respondents mentioned different C-level executives had major accountability or claimed there was no single level of accountability.

PwC’s world technique consultancy, Technique&, believes the CDO function ought to sit on the C-suite stage or one stage beneath as a result of, “appointing a senior-level CDO is important for management groups looking for to maximise the potential of knowledge as a strategic asset all through the group.”

Carruthers agrees. She says the chief knowledge officer might report to numerous locations within the group, however she favors the CEO or COO, not the CIO.

“Because the function evolves and matures, it’s reporting into different locations within the enterprise,” she says. “It’s transferring towards extra of a seat on the prime desk, which it must be. For me, the CIO and the CDO ought to work hand-in-hand as a partnership, and a partnership doesn’t work when one associate works for the opposite associate.”

What to search for in a chief knowledge officer

In accordance with the NewVantage Companions’ survey, 51% of executives at Fortune 1000 corporations really feel a profitable chief knowledge officer have to be an exterior change agent with contemporary views. In the meantime, 14% held the alternative view: they felt a profitable chief knowledge officer have to be an organization veteran who understands the tradition and historical past of the group. Respondents have been additionally break up on the chief knowledge officer’s background: 10% believed a profitable chief knowledge officer must be crammed by a line-of-business government who’s been accountable for monetary outcomes, whereas 19% mentioned the CDO should have an information scientist or technologist background.

Gomis says he’s seen chief knowledge officers come from advertising and marketing backgrounds, and that some are MBAs who’ve by no means labored in knowledge analytics earlier than. “Most of them have failed, however the firms that employed them felt that the influencer skillset was extra essential than the information analytics skillset,” he says.

Good folks abilities definitely might be helpful for getting out of the bind many new chief knowledge officers discover themselves in. “One of many largest errors will not be understanding what it’ll take to succeed, when it comes to expectations,” Gomis provides. “If you happen to have a look at lots of the individuals who’ve had the title of chief knowledge officer and chief analytics officer during the last three years, there’s an incredible quantity of turnover as a result of firm and candidate expectations weren’t aligned.”

The issue is usually unrealistic expectations from an employer. “The largest mistake firms make is to count on that as a result of they’ve employed somebody, the issue is solved,” says Justin Cerilli, who heads the information and analytics follow for consultancy Russell Reynolds Associates. “Truly, you’re simply beginning to remedy the issue — the robust selections are nonetheless to come back. That’s whenever you begin asking who your individuals are, what your processes are, and how you can change tradition. CEOs inform chief knowledge officers to vary every part to get the tip outcomes they need, however don’t need to change the best way they do something.”

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