CAO: Chief Analytics Officer

There is a new CXO in town  … called the Chief Analytics Officer!

Authored by Tomas Higbey

This is just to get you thinking about what’s coming in the next couple of years so that when the CAO shows up in town, you’ll recognize that person and be able to take him or her on.

Just as Big Data is inevitable, so may be the creation of the Chief Analytics Officer or CAO. Companies that are neck-deep in Big Data wrestle with the challenges of multiple data-bases, overwhelming data storage issues and exponential data flows.  In the enterprise sector current trends tell us that individual departments within organizations are creating their own Big Data solutions and analysis. Infighting typically occurs and resources are wasted through the lack of a comprehensive and centralized plan. The smart pioneers that “get it” right from the start, and influence the leaders at the C level will have a major competitive advantage while the competition learns the hard way, wasting internal political capital in the process.

The CAO can create the Big Picture design on Big Data for the entire organization, find which tools work, what projects have performed best, which data sources can be trusted, and measure both the entire ROI for the company as well as rank and rate individual projects.

The reality is that Big Data is showing up in nearly every industry and in every department; in productivity, innovation, competition, and market knowledge. In other words Big Data is being used in Marketing, Operations, Human Resources, Product Development and Finance. There is no place within the organization where it isn’t being used.

Demand for Data Scientists and certified professionals will also increase. A CAO can create the Big Strategy to mitigate the foreseeable challenges and simultaneously keep Big Data’s importance in the minds of the entire leadership in the organization.  No doubt the elite companies are already beginning the planning and even implementation stages for the unavoidable future of Big Data.

But what does this really mean? We start with the issues of Big Data.  Big Data at the core is about the “art of the possible”. For the first time, even small companies have a fishing line, a fishing net and various tools to dive into the information ocean and extract all types of specific “species” that are most important for the business.  By recognizing patterns that would otherwise remain hidden, correlations can be identified. Think: identifying successful patterns.

Data scientists have discovered that orange painted cars are in better shape than other cars.  The “why” is not clear but that doesn’t really matter. When seeing it from the Big Data perspective, we can use this as a guide for buying used cars. This is a balancing between “intuition” and instinct (which are often wrong) the potential risk of which can be curtailed and mitigated by Big Data.

Here are the key reasons why the CAO might be critical for Big Data initiatives:

  • Revealing hidden strategies over-looked by departments
  • Educate organization (not just C level) about BD’s critical utility
  • Organized best talent and practices while attracting the best people from a scarce hiring pool
  • Data trumps intuition, meaning a new leadership philosophy is being born, one which must be evangelized within the organization
  • Establish standardization of reports / analytic models across the organization
  • Establish what is and isn’t possible from the Big Data perspective
  • Leverage Big data as a key asset / resource for everyone

To repeat: this is just to get you thinking about what is coming in the next couple of years so that when the CAO shows up in town, you’ll recognize him and be able to take him on!

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