Four levels of the CDO: function builder, data integrator, business optimizer and market innovator


The relatively new role of Chief Data Officer is developing into a crucial member of the C-suite for organizations around the world. In a time of rapid information transformation, where every company is becoming a digital data company, the CDO role is involved across every level of an organization to lead and drive innovation.

IBM Corp. has been leading the charge to nurture and guide CDOs, no matter where they are on their organization’s data journey, according to Caitlin Lepech (pictured), communications and client engagement executive, Global Chief Data Office, at IBM. And at this week’s IBM Chief Data Officer Strategy Summit in San Francisco, where the CDO is headed was up for debate.

“The thing I love about this event the most is it’s all client-led discussions,” said Lepech. As one of the main organizers of the CDO Strategy Summit, she said that of the lessons learned from the last summit was that CDOs wanted more time to network with peers and share use cases, so they built in breakout sessions to help facilitate a sharing environment.

Lepech joined Jeff Frick (@JeffFrick) and Peter Burris (@plburris), co-hosts of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile live streaming studio, at the IBM Chief Data Officer Strategy Summit in San Francisco, California. (*Disclosure below.)

The discussion centered on the summit’s successes, as well as thoughts around the role of CDOs in their organizations.

The continually evolving CDO role

Lepech explained that there are different levels of CDOs based on where they are in their journey of transformation. It starts with a function builder, CDOs who are new in the journey and starting to build the office of CDO. From there, the role can develop into data integrators; business optimizers; and, finally, market innovators.

Since the role of CDO is in the process of evolving, many people are doing innovative things in their organizations, but they don’t realize it, Lepech stated. No matter where CDOs are on their journey, they have use cases to share with others and they can learn from each other.

One interesting aspect of the role of CDO is that it can potentially be a place where women can step into a C-suite role, as there is not so much legacy “baggage” as there are with other roles, according to Lepech. Additionally, because the position is one where it is crucial to share and communicate across many different levels and with many different types of employees, this kind of social skill is one where women are thought to excel.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the IBM Chief Data Officer Strategy Summit. (*Disclosure: IBM and other companies sponsor some IBM CDO Strategy Summit segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE. Neither IBM nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE