Business

A Day in the Life of a Chief Data Officer

We may have a vague idea about the general responsibilities of a CDAO. But exactly what does being a CDAO look like and how do they spend their days?

Revelio Labs

2/8/22

Twenty years ago, CapitalOne appointed Cathy Doss as the first Chief Data Officer. Since then, the world, and especially large companies have become more data driven and the Chief Data (and Analytics) Officer (CDAO) role has become a common member of the C-Suite.  In 2002, CapitalOne was ahead of its time. It took another 12 years for the role to truly pick up in popularity. But then it did, very rapidly:

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We may have a vague idea about the general responsibilities of a CDAO.  But exactly what does being a CDAO look like and how do they spend their days? Using the free text of position descriptions of CDAOs, we are able to retrieve and standardize the activities that are most closely associated with this role. The bulk of common activities are closely related to analytics, data modeling and presenting findings to senior management.

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Which skills are necessary to fulfill these activities? Here are the most common skills among CDAOs. The majority are quite technical, as opposed to management related.

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This finding begs the question about the background of CDAOs and their previous positions. It looks like these people really are domain experts, with very technical experience prior to joining top management. Interestingly, CDAOs seem to also be commonly recruited straight out of academia.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Many large companies now have a CDAO to lead the data and analytics efforts.
  • The main activities of a CDAO revolve around driving analytics to enable key strategic decision making in senior management.
  • CDAO’s skills are a mix of management and technical skills, but seem to skew heavily technical.

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