Boeing Defense, Space & Security has formed a data analytics organization and named Dewey Houck to lead the group. Houck's newly created position, effective June 1, is chief data analytics officer.

A $31 billion unit of The Boeing Company, the Defense, Space & Security organization is the world’s largest manufacturer of military aircraft. The unit did not disclose specific details about its data-driven business strategy, but it sounds like Houck and the analytics group will play a key role in new product and service offerings.

"We’re evolving and repositioning core capabilities as we develop new, innovative offerings,” said Chris Chadwick, president and CEO of Defense, Space & Security, in a prepared statement. “This is all part of how we’re shaping the organization to support the innovation and growth we need in Boeing’s second century. Bringing new information capability to existing and future platforms is a growth opportunity that our competitors can’t easily match. Dewey will help us realize that potential around the world."

Houck previously was vice president and general manager of Electronic & Information Solutions within the unit's Network & Space Systems business.

Plenty of Data Experience

Boeing and its various business units have deep experience in data-driven operations. In some ways, Boeing aircraft can be considered mobile sensor networks -- producing real-time data that Boeing and aircraft owners can monitor and manage from afar. 

Boeing's data-driven approach has also taken flight in other markets. For instance, Boeing veteran Alan Mulally drove an analytical approach to business when he arrived at Ford Motor Co as CEO in 2006. The automobile maker went on to name its first chief data and analytics offer in December 2014 -- appointing Paul Ballew to the post

How Big is the CDO Trend?

Some pundits think chief data officers will gain seats at executive tables across the globe -- especially as more businesses and governments seek to more effectively gather, manage, safeguard and monetize data. Indeed, 61 percent of CIOs want to hire chief data officers (CDOs) within 12 months, according to Experian.

Still, only a handful of CDO appointments have been publicly announced so far in 2015.

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