IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Meet the newest member of the IT team: the chief data officer

By Catherine Knowles
Mon 28 Sep 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

IT departments will soon add a chief data officers (CDO) to the team in order to remain successful as competition heats up.

Poornima Ramaswamy, Cognizant AVP enterprise information management, says a CDO can develop a data strategy, manage the information ecosystem and, most importantly, educate employees on the power and possibilities of data.

A CDO can also help more traditional companies compete with disruptive start-ups, she says.

“Young companies have a distinct advantage over their longer standing competitors and data is in their DNA.

“For these digital natives, it’s second-nature to put data and digital processes at the heart of their strategy and use data-based insights to make their decisions,” she says.

Traditional companies can close the gap by hiring a CDO, she says.

Ramaswamy says there are six steps that CDOs can take to nurture a thriving data culture that, along with a well-tuned data strategy, turns digital code into a competitive edge.

1. Map your organisation's use of data

Employees need to perceive data as a flexible asset that brings value to all areas of an organisation, says Ramaswamy.

CDOs can encourage this by mapping the organisation’s data supply chain into a big-picture view of available data - including who creates it, where it resides, and who consumes it.

Through this map, everyone can understand how their own data usage fits into the broader enterprise and who else might make use of it.

Data maps can also uncover ‘dark data’, or pockets of information that go largely unstudied but can yield valuable insights, such as machine data and customer service call logs.

For example, combining machine logs from a dispensing unit with geo-location data can help predict inventory patterns and improve order processing, says Ramaswamy.

2. Focus on the ‘art of the possible’

The hallmark of a data culture is the ability to understand the versatility of data and identify alternative uses for it, she says.

Employees regularly encounter data that is of little value to them but, when considered through the context of a data map, might be of value to someone else.

CDOs should encourage a mindset of finding alternative or unusual uses for data by sharing it with other teams.

According to Ramaswamy, an example of this is the popular TV series House of Cards, which Netflix developed by gathering routine viewer data and correlating it in new ways.

The streaming service discovered that subscribers who watched the original BBC series were also avid consumers of movies starring actor Kevin Spacey or directed by David Fincher.

When Netflix licenced the BBC series for a remake, it signed Spacey to star and Fincher to direct. 

3. Be transparent about data

Data can become a valued asset only if its accuracy is trusted, its provenance is well established, and its security is safeguarded, according to Ramaswamy.

CDOs can build trust in data by tracking its quality and lineage and providing multiple use cases depending on the data quality.

Consider a data set on customer spend that is missing attributes such as date of birth or address.

While such data is unusable for personalised offers, as here laser-like precision is required, it is still relevant for insights that can be drawn with broader strokes, such as understanding segment-based spending habits, she says.

4. Develop reward-sharing

Celebrating data successes is essential to promoting a healthy data culture, says Ramaswamy. Such recognition can occur in many forms, including videos, blogs, special-occasion gatherings or a section on the company portal.

The data initiatives selected for recognition should be aligned with the organisation’s innovation objectives, whether it’s reducing customer churn, increasing customer intelligence or penetrating new markets, she says.

5. Identify areas of friction

In a thriving data culture, information-sharing should be a way of life, not a source of tension, says Ramaswamy.

Consider the traditional roles of product engineering and sales - when sales funnels new information on customer needs and provides it to engineering, it might cause conflict because engineering’s main objective is to meet deadlines and budget requirements. However, for sales to meet its goal of boosting revenues, it needs products that meet customer needs, she says.

The CDO can help the two departments find common ground. By using data to prioritise features, teams can choose objectively between time to market and cost, she says.

For example, what does customer feedback reveal about feature preferences and customer satisfaction levels? Data can help to improve collaboration by keeping the focus on facts, not emotions, she says.

6. Elevate the conversation

Everyone in the organisation should be made aware of the real purpose behind a data culture: to sharpen the corporate strategy and drive innovation.

When employees see how data connects to corporate objectives, they will overcome their reluctance, apathy and fear about data-sharing.

CDOs can promote the link between data and strategy by hosting ideation sessions and hackathons to accelerate strategy and innovation efforts. Doing so can also help employees feel more engaged and part of a bigger mission, she says.

"Transitioning to a data culture requires dramatic change for traditional organisations, but by taking these six steps, CDOs can help their organisations move towards managing data as a strategic asset and embark on their journey towards creating a data culture," says Ramaswamy.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Wireless
Cradlepoint expands its Cellular Intelligence capabilities
Cradlepoint has announced additional Cellular Intelligence capabilities with its NetCloud service.
Story image
Customer experience
Research unveils precarious customer loyalty for retailers
New research has found customers are reassessing established brand loyalties as their priorities and behaviours shift.
Story image
Cybersecurity
NCSC advisory highlights poor security configurations
The GCSB's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has released a cyber security advisory identifying commonly exploited controls and practices.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Trading up: It's time to swap core systems for flexible digital applications
This year will see more oranisations planning and commencing high tech renovations that will shake up the way they operate.
Story image
Digital Transformation
The impact of COVID-19 on healthcare environments and care delivery
The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the healthcare industry while overcoming staff shortages, social distancing requirements, and lockdowns.
Story image
Fonterra
Fonterra to use automated guided vehicles by Dematic
New Zealand's dairy giant Fonterra is upgrading its manufacturing facility in Edendale with new automated guided vehicles (AGVs) from Dematic.
Story image
Public Cloud
Cloud adoption still a work in progress, NetApp finds
NetApp has announced the results of the annual Cloud Infrastructure Report based on a survey of public cloud business and IT decision makers.
Story image
Collaboration
Meadows exits Ingram Micro New Zealand on a good note
We look at the resignation of Danny Meadows from Ingram Micro's New Zealand Unified Communications & Collaboration business unit.
Exabeam
Find out how a behavioural analytics-driven approach can transform security operations with the new Exabeam commissioned Forrester study.
Link image
Story image
Workato
Workato unveils enhancements to enterprise automation platform
"The extra layer of protection with EKM, zero-logging, and hourly key rotation gives customers a lot more visibility and control over more sensitive data."
Story image
Microsoft
PwC NZ unveils new Cloud Security Operations Center
PwC New Zealand has unveiled its new Cloud Security Operations Center for the entire Microsoft technology stack.
Story image
Fortinet
Fortinet's Security Fabric hits new record for integrations
The Fortinet Security Fabric has surpassed 500 technology integrations with more than 300 Fabric-Ready Technology Alliance Partners.
Story image
SAS
New SAS service overcomes subscription fatigue for media companies
SAS has launched SAS 360 Match which helps media companies move towards a AVOD model to generate revenue as subscribers cancel.
Story image
Application Security
What are the DDoS attack trend predictions for 2022?
Mitigation and recovery are vital to ensuring brand reputation remains solid in the face of a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack and that business growth and innovation can continue.
Story image
Remote Working
IT teams deploy powerful technologies to enable remote work
"We found that IT teams mastered the challenges of remote work last year in large part by employing powerful yet easy-to-use technologies."
Story image
Hawaiki Cable
BW Digital completes acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable
BW Digital has completed its full acquisition of Hawaiki Submarine Cable, with all applicable regulatory filings and approvals now received.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Hard numbers: Why ambiguity in cybersecurity no longer adds up
As cybersecurity costs and risks continue to escalate, CEOs continue to struggle with what their investment in cyber protection buys. Getting rid of ambiguity becomes necessary.
Story image
Data Center
Preventing downtime costs and damage with Distributed Infrastructure Management
Distributed Infrastructure Management (DIM) can often be a lifeline for many enterprises that work with highly critical ICT infrastructure and power sources.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
CFOs using digital workers and AI to prevent unnecessary loss
New technology is now allowing CFOs to use digital workers to automate their accounting processes, making it easier for them to avoid unnecessary losses.
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom welcomes new marketing codes for the telecom industry
The Commerce Commission is welcoming the creation of new marketing codes for the telecommunications industry.
Story image
SaaS
Cloudflare launches instant serverless database for dev teams
"Today we’re announcing our first serverless database which we expect will quickly become one of the largest databases in the world."
Story image
Ransomware
A third of companies paying ransom don’t recover data - report
Veeam's report finds 76% of businesses who are victims of cyberattacks paid the ransom to recover data, but a third were still unable to get their information back.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
SAS unveils AI experience to improve kids' batting abilities
SAS has created The Batting Lab, an interactive experience using AI, computer vision and IoT analytics to help kids improve their baseball and softball swings.
Story image
Microsoft
SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure to deliver 204% return - study
The Forrester Total Economic Impact study finds SAS Viya on Microsoft Azure brings a 204% return on investment over three years.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Sift
Sift shares crucial advice for preventing serious ATO breaches
Are you or your business struggling with Account Takeover Fraud (ATO)? One of the latest ebooks from Sift can provide readers with the tools and expertise to help launch them into the new era of account security.
Story image
Ivanti
Ivanti and Lookout bring zero trust security to hybrid work
Ivanti and Lookout have joined forces to help organisations accelerate cloud adoption and mature their zero trust security posture in the everywhere workplace.
Story image
Cybersecurity
A10 Networks finds over 15 million DDoS weapons in 2021
A10 Networks notes that in the 2H 2021 reporting period, its security research team tracked more than 15.4 million Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) weapons.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
AI-based email security platform Abnormal Security valued at $4B
"A new breed of cybersecurity solutions that leverage AI is required to change the game and stop the rising threat of sophisticated and targeted email attacks."
Story image
Sustainability
Siemens showcases new automated solutions for data centers
Siemens has implemented new automated solutions and AI in the Baltic region's largest data center, providing insight into the future of data center management.
Story image
Sustainability
Grasping the opportunity to rethink the metrics of a sustainable data centre
A data centre traditionally has two distinct operations teams: the Facility Operations team, and the IT Operations team. Collaboration between them is the key to defining, measuring, and delivering long-term efficiency and sustainability improvements.
Story image
Digital Transformation
How to modernise legacy apps without compromising security
At a time when digital transformation has become central to business, even the most important applications come with a ‘use-by’ date.
Story image
Lightspeed
Lightspeed launches all-in-one marketing platform in A/NZ
ECommerce provider, Lightspeed has launched a new all-in-one marketing solution, Lightspeed Marketing & Loyalty in Australia and New Zealand.
Softiron
For every 10PB of storage run on HyperDrive vs. comparable alternatives, an estimated 6,656 tonnes of CO₂ are saved by reduced energy consumption alone over its lifespan. That’s the equivalent of taking nearly 1,500 cars off the road for a year.
Link image
Story image
Excel
Could your Excel practices be harming your business?
While Excel has been the de-facto standard for budgeting, planning, and forecasting, is it alone, enough to support organisations in the global marketplace that’s facing rapid changes due to digital transformation?
Darktrace
Threat actors are exploiting weaknesses in interconnected IT/OT ecosystems. Darktrace illuminates your entire business and takes targeted action to stop emerging attacks.
Link image
Story image
Sisense
Data and analytics could be key to higher selling prices in APAC
Sisense's latest report has found that almost half of data professionals in APAC think customised data and analytics can create better selling prices for their products.
Story image
Adyen
Adyen expands partnership with Afterpay as BNPL payments increase
Adyen has expanded its partnership with AfterPay allowing more of Adyen’s merchants in more countries worldwide to use the BNPL provider.
Story image
Ransomware
Cybersecurity starts with education
In 2021, 80% of Australian organisations responding to the Sophos State of Ransomware study reported being hit by ransomware. 
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Clear Dynamics closes $35M funding round, invests in global growth
The funding is a major milestone and speaks to Clear Dynamics’ vision for AI-enabled ‘composable’ enterprise software, the company states.
Story image
Sustainability
Power at the edge: the role of data centers in sustainability
The Singaporean moratorium on new data center projects was recently lifted, with one of the conditions being an increased focus on power efficiency and sustainability.
Story image
Talend
Talend introduces new data health solutions for businesses
Talend has announced its latest version of Talend Data Fabric, with the release of Talend Trust Score enabling data teams to establish a foundation for data health.
Story image
Cybersecurity
The 'A-B-C' of effective application security
Software applications have been a key tool for businesses for decades, but the way they are designed and operated has changed during the past few years.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft backing Māori and Pacific wāhine in tech industry
A new initiative focused on getting Māori and Pacific wāhine into the tech industry and backed by Microsoft, NZTech and the government is calling for tech companies to get involved.