Chapter 11. The Data-Driven C-Suite

The ideal CDO exists to drive business value.

Julie Steele1

If the organization wants to be data driven there has to be an evangelist that makes noise about what it needs.

Anon. in Shaw et al. 2014.2

So far, we’ve covered a lot of ground. I adopted a bottom-up perspective, following the data, influence, and impact from the raw data up through the analytics value chain. I started with the foundation of a data-driven organization: the data layer (i.e., collecting the right data and collecting the data right). I also covered the analyst org: hiring the right people with the right skills, combined in the right way, who have the potential to do insightful, impactful analysis. And, I covered the types of statistical and visualization tools and fact-based storytelling approaches that ultimately can turn raw data into sales pitches to aid the decision makers. Importantly, I also highlighted what analysts, and their direct managers, can do to contribute to a data-driven culture and success. 

At this point, we turn things around and adopt a top-down perspective. While a data-driven organization and its culture can certainly blossom from below, to reach its full potential, it also needs shaping, sponsorship, and direction from above: data leadership. That is the focus of this chapter.

Someone has to hold the top data position in the company. For a long time, that has been the CTO or CIO. However, they have little time and breadth to regard the data ...

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