With the rapid rise of data analytics, there is a high demand for a key player in the workplace — the Chief Data Officer. The CDO is quickly becoming a new hero for financial institutions ushering in digital transformation. From uncovering profitable insights to developing data-backed business strategies and keeping data systems clean and relevant—the CDO is proving to be an essential addition to the org chart.

If you are a financial institution and are looking to fill the CDO position or outsource this expert to oversee a major data initiative, you will want to start by knowing the profile of this key new executive position.

Below are some essential qualities not to overlook as you seek the right CDO for your organization:

A Team Player

Every organization is split into divisions, groups, or departments such as Operations, IT, and Finance. But, when it comes to sharing customer and organizational data, silos can be detrimental to the success of any data and analytics project. Data needs to be shared and processed freely. Therefore, a key quality to seek is someone with a team player mindset—able to help break down silos and ensure all relevant roles in the financial institution have access to data that impacts their decisions. Since the CDO understands the data on so many levels, they will work with the rest of the C-suite to maximize the value data can provide to the organization. Most CDOs are usually tasked with using the information to automate business processes, understand customer behavior, and ultimately utilize data as a business asset. Collaborating with department heads and working with other teams will be critical.

An Industry Expert

The CDO is a role that requires being able to understand all different aspects of data analytics – from data quality and data governance to data integration and data visualization. But for financial institutions to truly reap the benefits of hiring a Chief Data Officer, an ideal candidate should understand the financial services industry. They should have experience working within the credit union or banking space, have a thorough understanding of the stakeholders, the target customer base, and any industry challenges. They will use this knowledge to help define, develop and implement how the FI should leverage data for maximum business outcomes.

A Referee

One of the top motivations to hire a CDO is to help capitalize on data opportunities and drive revenue. The CDO needs to act as a referee to ensure data is used correctly, is clean and can be used for insight and action. Just as important, the CDO will need to drive ways that data can be used for innovation. Basically, your CDO needs to be good at playing offense and defense. The CDO needs to create data management processes, policies and tools to make the data more useful. The CDO can help unlock data for better marketing, and greater customer service opportunities. But, they will also need to help secure and safeguard the data. Being able to play on both sides of the data equation is critical to the success of data-driven projects.

A Data Champion

For many FIs, data analytics is still a relatively new area or concept. Therefore, a CDO will need to champion the data and be the leader for what a strong data strategy can achieve for the FI. By championing the data, the CDO will constantly be working to improve the quality of the data and should encourage users to follow established data governance policies. The CDO needs to have a good working relationship with team members and possess the business maturity to set a data framework that all will use and follow. To continuously champion the data, a good CDO should understand the latest technologies around data analytics and be learning constantly to stay ahead of the curve to ensure a return on BI investments.

A Visionary

An important quality in a CDO is someone who can make meaning out of the data. Your organization will want someone who has a vision for business opportunities over the next 1,2 5, and even 10 years and can use the data in innovative ways in support of driving revenue. A CDO who has a vision for what results, activities and actions are needed to align the data strategy with the FI’s overall business strategies will set the organization up for future success.

Finding the right CDO can make the difference between a financial institution that leads and one that simply is just keeping up or worse – not getting a true ROI from their data investments.

Is your organization in need of a Chief Data Officer? Contact The Knowlton Group to help your organization achieve all your business intelligence and data-driven objectives with our Chief Data Officer expertise. Email us at [email protected] to learn more!