C-level Executives Should be Data Scientists - Need of the Hour

Manish Bhatia, Director, IT, Spring ProfessionalJob scenario is changing today and getting a lot more consolidated. Especially the mechanical back end jobs are being replaced by technology and artificial intelligence. In addition, the business landscape is altering profoundly because of the impeccable power of data and analytics. Given the staggering amount of data in most of the companies, there is a need for senior management to upgrade their skills and become data literate. Today, we see the younger generation coming fully equipped with skills when entering the market. Hence, when decisions are taken at various levels of the organisation’s hierarchy, especially at the senior management, adoption of data driven culture becomes critical.

Organisations need to raise the general level of data literacy and encourage data driven conversations. As organizations look to become more customer-centric, C-level roles such as Chief Digital Officer have become vital for organizations that aim to leverage data to provide a better over all customer experience - from awareness to advocacy and throughout the customer journey.

Data Scientists are the need of the hour –a data scientist should offer a good approach based on data and should be capable of analysing that data using statistics, psychology, and a thorough business understanding of a company. The two-way communication on data can improve business performance. Today, these discussions are happening only at the highly aggregated level. To bring about this change in mindset, the CIO has to involve the business users to co-own, co-create and co-orchestrate the data analytics transformation project.

IT/ITES sector has started to latch onto it to get a visibility on the utilization of manpower. Technology solutions now fill every element of business from the delivery of goods and services to customer experience, human resources and finance. Other verticals like pharma, retail, distribution, FMCG, banks are also adopting a data-driven culture. Sealing data-related opportunities to improve revenues, increase productivity, and to create entirely new businesses puts new demands on companies. This requires new talent and investments in information infrastructure and also significant changes in mind-sets and front line training. I believe it is now obvious that without extra C-level executive
talent fuelling the momentum of data analytics, it will be tough for many organisations.

In today’s digital era – the digital strategy of organizations is becoming corporate strategy. According to Gartner, there are more than 100 people with the specific job title of chief data officer serving in large enterprises, defining the role as helping manage data as a corporate asset. Therefore, the role of Chief Digital Officers(CDOs) is developing rapidly. Traditionally, from a back end office role in many organizations, it is shifting towards the most important roles within an organization. In verticals like financial services, the role of digital officers has become central to business outcomes. CDOs are the best enabler for organizations’ digital strategy. Though, they have become a common role in various levels of an organization’s hierarchy, we still need to see the shift and acceptance at C-Levels.

As organizations look to become more customer-centric, C-level roles that leverage data to provide a better overall customer experience have become vital for organizations

No matter how smartly crafted, a data strategy is incomplete without a data-oriented culture to support it. Data culture and data success are intertwined and interdependent. Organizations can’t have one without the other. Today, employees have as much information as the employer with easy access to several channel points for data. It becomes business-critical then that companies are able to feed off this combined intelligence and leverage them for growth. This is easier said than done and comes back to the point of creating an open, data-driven culture.

Benefits of a data driven culture are –

Improved executive decision making
Improved efficiency to meet new business requirements
Increased customer value and loyalty
Increased over all revenue
Expanded market footprint
Cost-cutting and creation of new products and services

Data Strategy and Business Intelligence aren’t really about data; they’re about the way data is used. The end goal isn’t more silos, with a team that owns the data, the process, and its value. The end goal is a data-driven culture where everyone sees the value in data, understands the importance of collecting good data, has access to the data, and uses the data to support decision-making.

Companies also have to use the data at their disposal to reinvent their strategies—and here, too, the data-savvy person in the Fifth Seat can help. Companies have more data than ever about their customers’habits and preferences, and using that data to offer better products and more individualized solutions is smart business. Yet, only a few companies are actually doing it.

Technology is not the only solution to all your questions. It is crucial to leverage people and processes as well. It is the employees that ensure that processes work as they are the ones that dig deeper to understand patterns. So we need to start with the employees. If we have to build a data-driven culture we need to invest in them. We need to enhance data literacy amongst all our business users. With reducing opportunities of entering markets and productivity lowering, good data fuels innovation and mileage. Hence, the future of the CIO is to ensure that data plays a crucial role. Today, data is available in abundance while data literacy is unfortunately, scarce. There fore, it is incredibly valuable. This is undoubtedly the age of data interpreters, data storytellers, and data translators.