Business Paper

Roadmap to Digitalisation:
The Role of a Chief Data Officer


Dr Wolfgang Martin, Analyst

Success factor Digital Transformation: How does a traditional company become digital?

When talking about a digital company, we immediately think of Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Co. All these companies have in common that their information technology has not only the function of support processes, but serves the innovation of the business model and business processes. In these companies, information is a strategic advantage arising competitive advantages and new revenue opportunities.

Still it is difficult to use these companies as a role model for the own digital transformation as they emerged as digital companies already. So how can a traditional company succeed in the transformation into a digital company?

Decisive for success is: The digital transformation may not be considered as a pure IT task. When it comes to innovation of business models and processes, all divisions are affected - the entire management level must be involved.

Master Data Management: The core task of the Chief Data Officers

But how to implement it: Who in the management level should drive the digital transformation? The responsibility for the data is not exactly assignable. Marketing is responsible for the market data, sales for the sales figures, production for production figures, etc. Neither those can become "data owner" who work with data in a specific application, since one and the same data is used by multiple processes or applications in a digital company. So there must be someone with an own responsibility for the digital transformation - a chief data officer (CDO).

A chief data officer has the task to initiate and push the digitalisation of information management. This means in particular to collect data, manage it, protect it and make money with it.

Among other things, he is responsible for the following topics:

  • Develops and takes responsibility for vision and strategy of a company-wide Master Data Managements
  • Establishes standards, rules and organisation for a Master Data Management
  • Reports to colleagues and management and brings data into the focus of the management
  • manages Data Governance
  • manages Compliance
  • manages Data Quality
  • manages Business Intelligence and Data Warehouse
  • manages master data management and is responsible for the 360° Customer View

Infographic about the role of a Chief Data Officer

The Role of a Chief Data Officer