I like to keep my proverbial finger on the pulse of IT trends, and there always seems to be some new topic that catches my attention and generates quite a bit of conversation among IT professionals. These days, one hot topic is the role of the chief data officer (CDO). Most of the discussions I’ve heard vis-à-vis the CDO position revolve around what exactly a CDO is, whom they report to and whether or not companies really need an “officer” to manage enterprise data. I’d like to weigh in on the debate.

The CDO is typically a member of the executive management team. CDOs manage their companies’ enterprise-wide data administration and data mining functions. Generally, the CDO reports to the chief technology officer (CTO) or the chief executive officer (CEO). There are exceptions, of course.

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