In uncertain times, as the COVID-19 global crisis impacts every aspect of our lives, data is the one source business leaders can turn to for decision making. As Chief Data Officer (CDO), it’s more important than ever to be an effective communicator with your C-level peers and provide information and context into what is happening to the business; at both the micro and macro levels.
Here are 13 ways that as a CDO, you can positively impact your business today and help provide context and answers for your peers. #DataCanHelp
1. Help the business rally around its data
As the COVID-19 global crisis impacts every aspect of our lives, with severe impacts on the economy, data is the one source to turn to for decision making. In times of uncertainty, reaffirm confidence among executives and employees in the certainty of your business’ data.
2. Don’t isolate your data
For a variety of reasons, it’s common for particular groups, roles, or individuals to hold dominion over their data. As a CDO, you can break this habit. Make sure data isn’t locked in silos. If you successfully change this behavior, suddenly everyone analyzing data can work off the same datasets and use it for better decision-making across the organization.
3. Leverage your data to assess present and future risks
As CDO you’re in a unique position to help identify the changing risks to your business. Maybe it’s your entire supply chain, customers, risk of fraud. Our realities drastically changed in the past two weeks and we’re now facing new risks we never considered before. Data can help us identify these risks, and estimate their magnitude.
4. Help plan for the unplanned
It’s not just manufacturers worrying about their factories and machines. All businesses from industrial companies to financial organizations are well aware of the fact that when an unplanned downtime event occurs, it costs money. We are now facing the largest unplanned global downtime of our lifetimes. With remote work companies now operate with less than full-staff and shifts and any issue in the business operation may take longer to fix, directly correlating to the bottom line and revenue loss. Providing access to relevant data to better allocate resources can help the business create a triage plan for arising issues.
5. Show where the money is flowing in
You’ll be asked to help colleagues nail down expenses. Now more than ever you should have a good understanding of who are your customers? How much do they buy from you? How consistently do they buy? What’s the state of their business and industry? If you have a good understanding of your baseline, you can better predict the changes the pandemic can cause and prepare your response scenarios.
6. Show where the money is flowing out
Give others a comprehensive view of your organization’s global spend. Who are your suppliers? What products and services are you buying? Where is there overlap? Are there redundancies? Is there “fat” that can be cut? As supply chains are disrupted and costs need to be curtailed, the better you are served with data about your alternatives, the more ready you are to make decisions for cost reduction.
7. Help rewrite the roadmap
Everyone’s beginning of year planning has been thrown out the window. They need a new compass for what to invest in. That requires great, up-to-date data, which the CDO is on the hook for. As a CDO, you can’t let your colleagues resort back to non-data driven decisions simply because things are uncertain.
8. Assess your current inventory
Be able to take stock of your existing inventory. As CDO you can help answer basic questions like “How much inventory do we really need on hand?”, “What inventory do we actually have on hand?”, “Are we hoarding duplicative materials?” It’s critical to know how long “business as usual” can continue despite disruptions to the supply chain and workflows.
9. Provide up-to-date information
In volatile times, data changes rapidly. Be prepared and capable of processing and making available the volume, variety, and velocity of incoming data, so the entire business can see how it is changing.
10. Highlight data opportunities
Now is a great time to show the opportunities that exist untouched in enterprise data. Can you maximize opportunities through better customer understanding and relationships, such as marketing initiatives using data?
11. Give context
When a crisis hits, the ability to respond greatly depends on the context an organization or individual has. Use your business data to provide more people context about what is really going on.
12. Focus on making data analytics easy for non-technical users
There’s a perception that data analysis needs to be hard. It’s your role as CDO to make sure it’s not. Show and encourage non-technical employees how to leverage key data sets. When everyone has a vested interest in data, that empowers you, your employees, and the organization to be data-driven.
13. Be pragmatic and agile
We have learned time and again that ‘boil the ocean’ projects rarely work. Instead, leaders need to help their organizations get quick wins. They should be primarily thinking in quarterly increments, not 10-year journeys broken into 2-year increments.