Would your insurance operations benefit from a “chief data officer”?  There have been no shortage of initiatives around big data – from telematics to customer relationship management to fraud detection to regulatory compliance. Essentially, no insurer can expect to thrive, or even survive, without the judicious handling of their data assets. Should insurers appoint a CDO to keep it all moving in the right direction?

Typically, the chief information officer (with “information” right there in his or her title) was charged with managing these assets. But, lately, CIOs have been overwhelmed by the big data tsunami, as stated in a recent report out of Experian. As the report’s authors put it:


“CIOs are feeling the brunt of the growing data deluge. Half (52%) of those interviewed have seen their responsibility for data management increase in the last 12 months. Around the same percentage have felt increased pressure to provide data to their business faster (49%) and to provide higher quality data, too (47%). With the demands of data management quickly outgrowing the traditional CIO capacity, CIOs are finding themselves stretched thin.”

CIOs are experience additional working hours, and with it, stress, the report, which is based on a survey of 250 CIOs and CDOs, adds. Along with the stress, data needs aren’t being met, either. “Three in five (68%) CIOs without a CDO in their business think their current role fails to cover the majority of responsibilities a CDO would have.”

The CDO is still a relatively new concept to businesses. The survey shows that 78% of enterprises with CDOs had only created the position within the past year.

The main duties of the CDO, as found in the survey, include the following:

• Ensuring a “consistent approach to mitigate risk in data-driven projects.” (48%)

• Overseeing efforts to “curb increasing costs due to poor quality data.” (47%)

• “Handling increasing regulation/governance.” (47%)

The role of CDOs, then, is to “help reduce costs and ensure the success of data-driven strategies, while taking ownership over complicated data regulation issues,” the report summarizes. Those are certainly tasks that many a harried CIO would probably love to take off his or her plate. 

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