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3 Key Roles for Successful Data Labs

Organizations are changing the way they use data—and the roles associated with data are changing as well, especially in those places that use a data lab.

Data labs—that is, Incubator for innovation that enables fast analytical experimentation with massive amounts of data —help people to easily explore large data sets so they can answer difficult questions, and also enable them to ask new questions on the fly. It can help organizations to unlock commercial value in their big data.

The chief data officer, chief digital officer, and chief data scientist have become prominent in firms that rely on analytics to support decision-making tools, methodologies, and skills to acquire and manage data variety, volume, and velocity. Let's explore these roles and how they compare.

The chief data officer manages data as a corporate asset. Similar to the way that the CFO manages financial capital, the chief data officer manages data capital (i.e. data assets). Data capital is increasingly viewed as a key asset for organizations, particularly those that operate in heavily digitized businesses. The primary responsibilities of the chief data officer are to formulate the data vision for the organization; serve as the champion for global data management; and oversee data governance, quality, and security.

The chief digital officer helps guide an organization into becoming a digital enterprise. This role is as much about process change as technological change. The chief digital officer articulates organization’s digital strategy, which includes the improving the digital customer experience, digitizing business processes and operations, and providing rapid feedback on business performance to decision makers. Creating the digital business is about improving understanding of customers and accelerating the speed to performance insight.

The chief data scientist is driven to extract insight from data and convert it into practical business value. With access to visual data discovery tools, cheap processing, and distributed data networks, the chief data scientist uses large quantities of structured and unstructured data to formulate hypotheses that can be tested through iterative analysis. They draw on skills and techniques in mathematics, statistics, computer science, and operations research.

To sum this up, the chief data officer manages data as an asset, the chief data scientist searches for insights from the data, and the chief digital officer drives transformation to the digital organization. Together, they have great influence over company strategy and growth.

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