Chief Data Officers Blaze Uncharted Corporate Frontier

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John Fremont is largely forgotten today, but in the history of the 19th century American West, Mr. Fremont was known as “The Pathfinder” for his westward expeditions and his role in establishing California as a state.

Today, emerging from the frontiers of Big Data and advanced analytics and the rapidly accelerating proliferation of data, comes a 21st century pathfinder: the chief data officer.

This past month, I had the occasion to moderate a panel of financial services CDOs at the Annual MIT Chief Data Officer Forum. The event, now in its fourth year, has grown from a handful of CDO’s to a group of nearly 100 executives representing a “who’s who” of the Fortune 1000.

Professor Yang Lee, of Northeastern University’s D’Amore-McKim School of Business and co-director for MIT’s Chief Data Officer Research Program, helps organize the program, and has conducted extensive research on the emerging CDO role. She notes: “The roles of CDOs are diverse and evolving. Yet, a noteworthy commonality is that these roles are well aligned with strategic business directions. Traditionally, data practices were led by middle managers, lacking executive collaboration. The emerging CDO practices are executive-led, accountable, and sustainable.” Read More