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C-suite shakeup: Where should Big Data fit in your org chart?



Big Data may be headed for the C-suite. A new McKinsey Quarterly article suggests that something like a CDO, a chief data officer, may be following such innovations as the CFO, CMO, and CSO (that’s chief strategy officer to those of us who didn’t get the memo). Enterprises have been adjusting their org charts since the ’80s, adding C-level executives as the market landscape has shifted.


The article’s writers, Brad Brown, David Court and Paul Willmott, see Big Data and analytics fueling the next tectonic shift in business, noting that “once again companies may need more top-management muscle” in the C-suite to successfully harness the power of advanced analytics.


Big Data and next-gen analytics span “a wide range of functions, including marketing, risk and operations,” say the McKinsey authors, and will cause the C-suite to “evolve in a variety of ways. In some cases, the solution will be to enhance the mandate of the chief information, marketing, strategy, or risk officer. Other companies may need new roles, such as a chief data officer, chief technical officer, or chief analytics officer, to head up centers of analytics excellence.”


McKinsey is enthusiastic about Big Data (their recent Global Institute report says top organizations could achieve up to a 60 percent improvement in operating margin) and notes that piecing together the roles and relationships is key: “Daunting as it may seem to rethink top-management roles and responsibilities, failing to do so, given the cross-cutting nature of many data-related opportunities, could well mean jeopardizing top- or bottom-line growth and opening the door to new competitors.”


We’re in agreement—our recent Discover Performance ebook, “Connecting data for new business insight,” looks at how to form a Big Data strategy that takes into account the marketing, business, security and IT management power of harnessing your data.  We’ve been talking to Colin Mahony, VP/GM of HP Vertica, for an upcoming issue of our newsletter, and he’s told us that while Big Data experts are in high demand, everyone else in IT and the business will become increasingly analytics-savvy as well. That underscores the importance of “Big Data” as more than just an area of IT expertise.


If you’re thinking about how Big Data fits into your enterprise, take an early look at this article from our next newsletter, an interview with HP Autonomy VP Brian Weiss, on the concept of “connected intelligence,” which focuses not merely on managing Big Data, but extracting bottom-line value from it. Then download the free ebook, “Connecting data for new business insight” (reg. req’d).


Related links:

Connecting data for new business insight

CIOs and CMOs: Who’s biggest on Big Data?

CIOs and CMOs: Bridging the Big Data divide

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About the Author


Alec Wagner is a longtime writer & editor, enterprise IT insider, and (generally) fearless digital nomad.

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