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Each day, month, year data is becoming more important to a company’s success. Many CEOs have realized that data can be a strategic asset through proper treatment and use. Achieving Data Intelligence is as vital as Finance managing the budget, or Human Resources recruiting talent. We’re almost at the point where data can be officially listed, even quantified, on the balance sheet as a competitive advantage.
The perception, if not the reality, is now so pervasive that it’s almost a cliché. Every company wants to be a data-driven organization and are working to accomplish their goal — diving into the deep end of the data lake, hiring data scientists and data architects to run innovation programs. Companies use data to achieve digital transformation. Organizations are building out Data Offices to manage all their data projects.
Only a decade ago, barely a dozen large corporations had a Chief Data Officer; today, by most accounts, that number has passed 10,000 worldwide. Their initial role had a lot to with ensuring compliance and securing all data assets. Now, their mandate is to use those assets to deliver value — as we always say, to help the organization reach a state of Data Intelligence. And through all this, research firm Gartner predicts that by next year, “The office of the CDO will be a mission-critical function comparable to IT, business operations, HR and finance in 75% of large enterprises.”
So it’s as good a time as any to ask some tough questions. Is it a rough ride from creating a data strategy to executing that data strategy? How long is it before tangible benefits emerge? When does data truly mitigate risk, how does it effectively cut costs, and when does it undeniably boost the bottom line? Is the strategy aligned with existing objectives or are square pegs being fitted into round holes? Are there use cases to allay skepticism and justify greater spending?
At Collibra, we’re in the data business — and, just like our esteemed clients, we use data to run the company. We’re growing fast, and we’re growing our data sources and formats even faster. We understand the market potential and the real-world pressures our customers face because we face them too.
We’ve always used data throughout the company, and we’ve long benefited from data collaboration, practicing what we preach. We can testify to the value of a digitally savvy board, just as research from MIT Sloan reveals that companies with directors and members “significantly outperformed others on key metrics — such as revenue growth, return on assets, and market cap growth .” We’ve nurtured a data-driven culture, encouraged the participation of data citizens, and traveled from data governance to Data Intelligence.
And as part of those efforts, we’ve created a formal data office. Because we like to look ahead, we call it Collibra Data Office 2025.
The fact that data is created and distilled throughout the corporation doesn’t mean there’s no demarcation of ownership — again, think Finance, HR or IT. Collibra’s Data Office 2025 champions the concept of data as a strategic and competitive asset and directly increases the state of Data Intelligence. This means it:
A quick caveat: Data Intelligence has universal attributes, but particular elements must also be unique to each corporate mission. As with Collibra, the data office must be adapted to each company’s unique characteristics, from broad market trends to internal politics. As a result, we see many variants, including:
At Collibra, we’re in constant growth mode and that’s not going to change anytime soon. We prioritize use cases that offer a competitive advantage and help us win over particular customers. We’re almost always on offense and that philosophy is best served with a decentralized approach. We focus on core activities such as optimizing analytics, orienting data management towards flexibility rather than rigid control and an enabling architecture for multiple versions of the truth over a single source of truth.
Whatever the arrangement — and it can evolve — collaboration and alignment are vital. We designed Collibra Data Office 2025 to serve the business at large, which means building solid relations with business stakeholders and clearly aligning with relevant objectives. Some functions are more data-intensive, such as marketing, which creates multiple opportunities for touchpoints and collaboration. Others need less data, but no function can be walled off — the data office is mandated to identify the right resources and ensure appropriate data use.
Let’s be realistic: We’re not going to develop the same tight connections with every individual in every constituency. However, there can be no more silos. If data is to become a strategic asset, the CDO and the Data Office — like the CFO, CTO and CISO — must be a vital presence throughout the enterprise.
Missed last month’s installment of Inside Collibra’s Data Office? Read Data Strategy in Three Steps now.
Stan leads Collibra’s Data Office and is responsible for overall data strategy, data infrastructure and translating internal learnings into value for our customers.
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