If you’re a CDO (Chief Data Officer), you already know this—it’s an exciting time to be a CDO! The role is soaring in popularity and importance—the number of CDOs in Fortune 1000 companies shot up from 12% in 2012 to 67.9% in 2018.

And companies are all too aware of how CDOs are core to their growth and transformation.

Today’s data and analytics leaders are becoming impactful change agents who are spearheading data-driven transformation. It’s not difficult to see how, by 2021, the office of the CDO will be a mission-critical function comparable to IT, business operations, HR and finance in 75% of large enterprises.

Valerie Logan, Research Director at Gartner

So, as a CDO, what do you need to stay ahead of the data game? Here’s our list of top 11 resources that any CDO should tap into.

1. Creating a data-driven organization

Author: Carl Anderson

What does it mean to be data-driven? Is it just collecting the right data and having a team of superstars in place to analyze that data? Or is it something more?

Data-drivenness is about building tools, abilities, and, most crucially, a culture that acts on data.

Carl Anderson, Senior Director of Data Science at WW

Being data-driven doesn’t end at collecting high-quality data and putting skilled analysts in place. It requires your decision makers to understand the data that you have, the analysis that your data team has done and then take decisions that drive business impact.

The book, written in a conversational tone, also features interviews and examples from data science and analytics leaders from various industries on building data-driven organization.

2. The Chief Data Officer’s playbook

Authors: Caroline Carruthers and Peter Jackson

Written by two practicing CDOs, here’s a book that serves as a great introduction to the CDO landscape.

It starts by exploring the role of a CDO, the skills and traits one must have to fit into this role, and how it is different from the role of the CIO (Chief Information Officer). The book then goes on to explain how to:

  • Set and manage expectations
  • Build and nurture relationships with the C-suite
  • Build a data-driven organization.

From CDOs and aspiring CDOs to recruiters looking for the right CDO, this book helps everyone demystify the role and mandate of a CDO within an organization. 

3. Analyzing the analyzers—an introspective survey of data scientists and their work [Free ebook]

Authors: Harlan D. Harris, Sean Patrick Murphy and Marck Vaisman

Here’s a book that’s a must-read for anyone heading a data team (or recruiting for one). Even though it’s based on a survey of data science practitioners from 2012, it’s still relevant. That’s because there’s still a lack of clear definition around the various roles and personas in a data science and analytics team.

After analyzing the results from their survey, the authors have categorized data scientists into four clusters and define the “T-shaped” data scientist. They also explore how organizations can use the survey results to identify roles within their data teams and hire the right people to do the job.

4. Gartner’s fourth annual CDO survey—Key capabilities that enable business success

Analysts: Debra Logan, Valerie Logan, Alan D. Duncan, Lydia Clougherty Jones

Every year, Gartner surveys CDOs to understand their profile, responsibilities and challenges.

In the fourth annual CDO survey (conducted online in 2018 and containing inputs from 257 CDOs and other high-level data and analytics leaders worldwide), the focus is on understanding how to win with data. It also identifies the challenges that CDOs face internally, such as changing organizational culture and driving data literacy.

If you’re a CDO, this is a report that you should be reading to understand what CDOs from around the world are doing to succeed in their roles.

5. Leadership vision for data and analytics leader [Slide deck]

Analysts: Nick Heudecker, Saul Judah, Ted Friedman, Andrew White, Gareth Herschel, Joao Tapadinhas

Who is a data and analytics leader? What challenges do they face? How can they drive decision-making with data? If you’re asking yourself these questions, then here’s a resource you should be reading.

This slide deck helps you be a CDO by giving you pointers on:

  • Securing the right funding and resources
  • Engaging key organizational stakeholders
  • Creating  a good data strategy
  • Becoming a master change agent

6. Smarter with Gartner—Data and Analytics

Don’t have time to scour through several pages of Gartner’s research? Don’t worry. Smarter with Gartner has got you covered. It features short-form articles that contain summaries of Gartner’s research and surveys, interviews with experts and thought leaders, highlights from Gartner conferences.

What’s more? They also have a weekly newsletter for your weekly dose of insights from the world of business and technology.

Take a look at some of their top articles:

  1. CDOs must take the lead to improve data literacy
  2. Why only half of CDOs are poised for success
  3. 3 top takeaways from the Gartner Chief Data Officer survey

7. Creating a data-driven enterprise with DataOps [Free ebook]

Authors: Joydeep Sen Sarma, Ashish Thusoo

With the technology and resources available today, collecting massive amounts of data has become quite easy. What’s challenging is making sense of this data and using it to build a data-driven culture within an organization.

Authored by the leaders of the team behind Facebook’s data infrastructure (and creators of Apache Hive), this book acts as a how-to guide for DataOps—the process, tools and people—and how it can help you build a data-driven organization. It explores how breaking down silos between data teams and building collaboration is the key to winning with data.

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The book features survey results on data maturity, case studies from Facebook, Uber, LinkedIn and others on building data-driven cultures. It also looks into key concepts in data management such as metadata, cloud architecture and data lakes.

8. Harvard Business Review

Have you heard of “Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century”? If yes, then you must be familiar with the Harvard Business Review (HBR). While it features incredible advice for all business leaders, it also has excellent resources on building and managing data teams and on the differences between the roles within data teams.

Take a look at some of the must-read articles for CDOs:

  1. The kinds of data scientists by Yael Garten
  2. Managing a data science team by Angela Bassa
  3. Building a culture that embraces data and AI by Thomas H. Davenport

9. The data management playbook for 2019 by Forrester

Just having the right information isn’t enough. Knowing how to put that information to use is the key to driving organizational growth—one of your top mandates as a CDO.

For this to happen, you must set up data management policies and practices that will drive business decision-making. Forrester’s data management playbook tells you how to go about achieving this and fulfilling your mandate as a CDO. 

If you enjoyed this report, here are other Forrester reports worth checking out:

  1. Chief Data Officers play a leading role in business transformation
  2. Eliminate confusion in data management roles and responsibilities

10. Venturebeat and Forbes

As a CDO, you’re expected to know what’s new in the world of data. That’s where Venturebeat and Forbes come to your aid. 

Both publications feature news, updates, long-form articles and opinion pieces on the latest happenings in big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, technology and business, including some in-depth articles focused on CDOs. Venturebeat even has a section dedicated to the world of big data.

Here are some of the best articles that we came across on both publications:

  1. Rethinking the role of the Chief Data Officer
  2. The arc of the Chief Data Officer: On a path similar to CFOs?
  3. Five ways to make the Chief Data Officer job a great one 
  4. The first 90 days: 3 things that CDOs can do to hit the ground running
  5. How to succeed with AI and machine learning at scale

11. CDO Club

The CDO Club claims to be the world’s first largest and most influential community of C-suite digital leaders, which includes Chief Data Officers and Chief Analytics Officers. What started on LinkedIn in 2011 has now grown to become a global community with events (called the CDO Summit) in cities such as New York, Sydney, Tel Aviv and Madrid.

The CDO Club also shares updates on CDO appointments, job vacancies and gives away CDO of the Year awards. 

Dear CDO: A final word

Awesome, you made it to the bottom of the list! With these resources in your toolkit, you’re all set to be the change agent leading the data-driven transformation of your organization. 

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