GFT launches three new thought leadership papers, focussed on maximising the effectiveness of the Chief Data Officer

17 November 2014

Global business consulting and IT solutions provider GFT has assembled a cross industry team of specialists to produce a series of papers examining the evolving role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO), and the challenges they face in creating impact and driving efficiencies, particularly in financial services.

Organisations are faced with vast and ever-increasing amounts of data, which presents the CDO with a number of challenges and opportunities. Effective data management is not only required to satisfy the regulator, it can now mean the difference between success and failure for many businesses. In this environment, the work of CDOs is now crucial.

Throughout the papers, GFT looks at the role of the CDO and the challenges they face on a daily basis. The intention is to build an industry-wide consensus on what constitutes best practice in this highly important area.

Delivering benefit

Since the financial crisis in 2008, banks and other financial institutions have seen revenues decline – this has increased pressure on cost control. They are now subject to greater regulatory demands and at the same time the structure of many firms has become significantly more complex.

This has created an environment whereby CDOs need to change in order to meet the conflicting demands of a diverse customer base. The paper looks at how this can be achieved by CDOs adopting a user-centric approach.

This approach means the CDO should make the customer the focus of all data management processes. It requires the CDO to understand the needs of each customer, to recognise how customers may wish to view and interact with data in different ways from each other.

The user-centric approach should encourage CDOs to involve customers in the design and development of future processes. This will help in implementing a next-generation user-centric design. The benefits of this approach are that customers receive what they want, it allows for data assets to be delivered in a way that meets customer needs, drives insight and informs decision making across the entire organisation.

To read ‘Delivering benefit’ click here.

Delivering vision

The paper moves on to address the analysis and design phase of major initiatives. CDOs have traditionally focused on developing a major analysis stream based on a ‘current’ and ‘target-state’ operating model.

Although this model allows a clear understanding of an organisation’s current architecture, the process is slow to develop and results in large amounts of data making decision making difficult.

The paper argues for a complementary approach with a governance structure that delivers clear business benefits at an earlier stage in the change lifestyle.

Some organisations have allowed their data and technology architectures to develop without effective governance. This has resulted in individual departments developing their own solutions with a lack of data standards.

One response to this problem has been the development of the ‘top-down’ approach, facilitated by large architecture programmes that attempt to design and build large centralised technology solutions. The problem with this approach is that it can be too slow in providing relevant and timely data.

The complementary approach means a less centralised form of governance, and encourages individual projects and technology solutions to be governed within a single framework.

This flexible framework helps deliver change by generating a complete and accurate view of data assets across business lines as well as across an entire organisation. The benefits mean higher quality data, improved decision making, major cost savings, and regulatory compliance.

To read ‘Delivering vision’ click here.

Delivering change

The report concludes by providing a practical guide on how Chief Data Officers can maximise their effectiveness.

In the first quarter of 2013, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) published BCBS239: Principles for Effective Data Aggregation and Risk reporting.

Its publication sent a clear message that data management and the quality of that data would be something regulators would be paying close attention to. The reaction from the supervisory boards of the world’s major global banks was to elevate CDOs to key positions of responsibility.

Today, CDOs find themselves in a position where they hold real power and influence within the institutions that employ them. The report looks at what strategies CDOs should use to influence their organisations in adopting a data driven culture that focuses on good quality information and the concept of data as an organisational asset.

For Chief Data Officers to be truly effective their role is not only about the effective management and governance of data. They also have to be able to communicate and inspire cultural change within their organisations, highlighting the importance and value of data as an asset.

To read ‘Delivering change’ click here.

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