Are Chief Data Officers (CDOs) A Short-term Fix?

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Are chief data officers (CDOs) a short-term fix -- meant to fill a painful business gap between CIOs and chief marketing officers? That's the thesis from Forrester Research VP Carlton Doty -- who shared a range of IT leadership opinions during the Adobe Summit this week in Salt Lake City.

Doty's perspectives surfaced in a blog from Alex Hayes, editor of Mumbrella. Doty urged CMOs and CIOs to work more closely together -- focusing entirely on customer wants and needs.

No doubt, many organizations experience friction between their CMOs and CIOs. While CMOs push for more customer-facing applications that drive sales leads, CIOs strive to balance privacy, security and budget considerations. The result is often a gap between CMO requests and CIO project approvals. 

The twist: Forrester's Doty thinks chief data officers and chief digital officers could be temporary fixes -- bridging the gap between CIO and CMO -- in many organizations, according to Mumbrella.

Moreover, Doty warned that CDOs aren't big data wizards. Many big data projects, he noted, involve a lot of talk and not much action.

Still, CDOs stick around for the long haul in several verticals. A prime example is the government market -- where CDOs focus less on sales leads and revenue generation, and far more on government transparency, privacy and security issues that will take years to sort out. Government CDOs must also focus heavily on President Obama's Open Government Initiative -- which calls on the government to be transparent, participatory and collaborative.

Web, mobile and big data applications are key to those government efforts.

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