The Role of the Chief Data Officer in Financial Services

| Point de vue

Leading the way to an information-centric enterprise that is fully connected, operationally efficient and capable of delivering high quality data

The ability to effectively and efficiently manage the vast and disparate array of corporate, customer and other business information that drives today’s largest financial services operations is rapidly emerging as a critical objective for the leadership of these firms—regardless of their respective market and geographic focuses. Information is the DNA that catalyzes the actions and reactions of these organizations to the many opportunities and demands that confront FS leadership teams on a regular basis—whether driven by market, customer, regulatory reporting, risk management, shareholder value or other considerations. Information can herald the growth of an organization’s brand and performance if properly managed, or choke the life out of the business if its value as a strategic corporate asset is under appreciated or ignored.

Some financial institutions have already embarked on a path to transform their disparate operations and data plants into an enterprise-level program that elevates information to its deserved status of strategic asset, reshaping the business into a truly information-centric enterprise where both data quality and consumption are aggressively and consistently managed by the leadership team. For those firms that have begun or may begin the journey to a more enriched information program, no single resource is more vital to the effort than a leader who is empowered to be the steward and champion of the enterprise’s information. It is this steward who is anointed by executive management to lead the transformation of the enterprise into an information-centric world that is fully connected, operationally efficient and capable of delivering data whose quality is beyond reproach. So, who is being charged with this most critical responsibility? More and more, major players in the financial services industry are looking to the Chief Data Officer (CDO)—for many institutions, a new role—as the steward and champion of enterprise information management.

The scope of this paper is to discuss the role of a CDO, the most critical functions of this office, why a Data Management Organization (DMO) is needed to support the CDO, and how and why the CDO is best positioned to be the catalyst for this desperately needed enterprise transformation effort.