What A Chief Analytics Officer Really Does


As analytics continues to spread out across an organization, someone needs to orchestrate it all. The "best" person for the job is likely a chief analytics officer (CAO) who understands the business, understands analytics, and can help align the two.

The CAO role is a relatively new C-suite position, as is the chief data officer or CDO. Most organizations don't have both and when they don't, the titles tend to be used interchangeably. The general distinction is that the CAO focuses more on analytics and its business impact while the CDO is in charge of data management and data governance.

"The new roles are really designed to expand the use of data and expand the questions that data is used to answer," said Jennifer Belissent, principal analyst at Forrester. "It's changing the nature of data and analytics use in the organization, leveraging the new tools and techniques available, and creating a culture around the use of data in an organization."

Someone in your organization may already have some or all of a CAO's responsibilities and may be succeeding in the position without the title, which is fine. However, in some organizations a C-suite title and capability can help underscore the importance of the role and the organization's shift toward more strategic data usage.

[Read the rest of the article and learn what you need to know about Chief Analytics Officers at InformationWeek.]

Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer

Lisa Morgan is a freelance writer who covers big data and BI for InformationWeek. She has contributed articles, reports, and other types of content to various publications and sites ranging from SD Times to the Economist Intelligent Unit. Frequent areas of coverage include big data, mobility, enterprise software, the cloud, software development, and emerging cultural issues affecting the C-suite.

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Re: Making distinctions
  • 2/28/2017 3:49:05 PM
NO RATINGS

Clear distinction is critical because there exist some overlap possibilities and that can be destructive. Turfs are guarded sometimes to the detriment of the cohesive health of the organization.

Re: Making distinctions
  • 2/28/2017 3:33:01 PM
NO RATINGS

An interesting factor to watch on the governance front. How will the regulations and legalities affect the titles and the duties each title may emcompass? And it will bear watching to see how the various departments depending on the two heads understand the differences and similarities and how the chains of command should function.

Re: Making distinctions
  • 2/21/2017 4:55:13 PM
NO RATINGS

The distinction between the roles is critical; it brings into the discussion the relationships and the strategy. I haven't run across the title in the organization I work with, but long term as data continues to be the engine for corporate growth I am sure it will become more prevalent.

Re: Making distinctions
  • 2/21/2017 3:54:47 PM
NO RATINGS

Here is a case where a title may actually be important because it makes clear what the specific focus of an executive should be. 

Making distinctions
  • 2/21/2017 11:33:04 AM
NO RATINGS

This is a helpful distinction, Lisa... I'll admit to some confusion about the division of labor among all the data-related CXOs. Governance is a tricky one too, though, since chief compliance officers are now officially a thing and I can see some overlap with CDO as you;ve decribed it here.

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