Down Memory Lane
Years ago I remember seeing a sticker on cars and offices in Nigeria saying
“wetin lawyers dey sef?”
A literal translation from Pidgin to English is
“what do lawyers even do?”.
I always thought it was a question of what lawyers do, how they contribute, and their relevance in society. I recently investigated, and I discovered it was an initiative started by the Late Efe Ozako, a brilliant lawyer, who sought to include lawyers in contracts, intellectual property and in entertainment. Moreover, it was a successful initiative, as it changed the landscape of legal activities in the Nigerian entertainment industry. You might wonder the relevance of this; I will explain later.
We do live in exciting times. Data is the new gold and oil and organisation are beginning to realise this. Data holds a wealth of information making it a valuable asset to them, which can be utilised to aid productivity and remain competitive. If you control this resource, then you are on the right track as an organisation. In this Digital age industry leaders are making digital innovation a strategic priority to delivering efficiency.
A colleague was excited a few days ago, about some facts on the top five companies in the world for 2011 and 2016. In 2011 you had only one technology/data company in the top five, with the rest being oil and gas companies. However, in 2016, the reverse was the case, with four technology/data companies and only one oil and gas company on the list.
Even with the presence of brick and mortar businesses we have gravitated towards digital platforms. Data is taking over everything, as it helps for a better decision-making process. Some organisations are taking advantage of these digital platforms which include big data and analytics. Data science has emerged out of the need to analyse big data. As a society, we have become more digitalized and connected, the more connections created, the more opportunities there are. With the proliferation of these connections, the internet of things is on the rise, and mobile devices keep sending different data types by the second, the amount of data keeps growing exponentially on a daily basis. You also have machine learning which enables smart connected devices to learn from data. All these make up the digital transformation process.
Who are they?
The traditional executives are the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Chief Information Officer (CIO), Chief Risk Officer (CRO). However, there is the new position of CDO, which has emerged because of the ongoing digital transformation. A CDO could be either a Chief Data Officer or a Chief Digital Officer. If data is the new gold, then how do you guard your treasure and valuable asset and also ensure you get the best out of it? Hence the need for a CDO. They are a rare breed of individuals; whom some describe as the gatekeeper of all information and the confessor to all your secrets. As I think of the CDO, I remember the stickers about the lawyers and I ask the question,
“wetin CDO dey do sef?”
Which just means
“what does a CDO even do?”
What they Do
Organisations need their data to be trustworthy and secure, and they need to integrate developing and strategic technology with evolving business models. They need leaders who have that effective tactic in defining how digital platforms bring value in modern organisations. The Chief Data Officers and Chief Digital Officers works in collaboration with the CEO, CIO, CFO and other business leaders managing transformation from analogue to a digital business. Also actively setting specific goals, crafting corporate strategy, providing market trends, adopting and integrating emerging digital technology with new business models while also increasing digital channels.
Their responsibilities also include developing data management strategies and determining how organisations treat their data as a strategic asset, ensuring they deliver immediate business value, that will give a competitive edge over the competition. They are also responsible for changing the culture, ensuring that there is governance in place to manage the digital transformation, integrating best practice into project delivery, as well as, facilitating better business alignment and actualization. The CDO has the skills to manage data and has the knowledge, background and expertise to do so. Having a CDO compliments the functions of the CIO, allowing the later concentrate on their core business.
While the role of a CDO is an evolving one, in this era of technology disruption, having a CDO in your organisation, might just be the what you require to drive your business, achieve your strategic goals and succeed in this new digital age.
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