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Chief data officer jobs a matter of conjecture

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In this podcast, we dig into the nuances of chief data officer jobs. They bounce between defensive privacy, compliance efforts and offensive digital innovation undertakings.

Chief data officer jobs are central to many corporate data quality efforts, but the actual character of those jobs is still being developed -- and debated. In this edition of the Talking Data podcast, we take a closer look at the job title, which is finding greater penetration in corporations.

The 2016 MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Symposium afforded a forum for divergent views of the CDO role, but a clear theme held that chief data officers are, for now, roaming between "defensive" privacy and compliance efforts and "offensive" digital innovation efforts meant to exploit the growing mass of big data.

Chief data officer jobs will seek definition for some time to come, according to Joe Caserta, founder and president of New York-based consultancy Caserta Concepts. In his view, the part of the organization best suited for the CDO is not with IT.

"The data needs to be independent of IT," he said. That is because data will increasingly be seen as a corporate asset as well as a powerful lever for innovation. Independence from the day-to-day obligations of IT is important for data -- and the chief data officer -- because the business is likely to understand the value of the data better than the IT department, Caserta suggested.

Just as influential today as the trend to employ a CDO is the trend toward agile development, or DevOps, in data processing, Caserta said.

The drive to get fast results was also a matter of discussion among others at the July MIT event; that drive could have a long-term impact on how data initiatives are pursued, and how chief data officer jobs evolve.

While protecting data quality where needed, the CDO must work effectively with DevOps-oriented teams -- ones that are spearheading innovation but may not have quite the same philosophy on data as the CDO. In short, it is quite the balancing act. Listen to this podcast to learn more.

Next Steps

Learn about the role of innovation in the CDO job

Find out more about the CDO's dilemma

From the vault: Look at news from last year's MIT CDO event