UK research highlights the lack of Chief Data Officers at C-suite level

Research by the data science and marketing services company Profusion has revealed that UK businesses are falling behind their European counterparts. The report highlights the lack of Chief Data Officers at board level at a time when GDPR, Brexit and the new Open Banking standards (due to come into effect in January 2018) should be top of the corporate agenda.

The Chief Data Officer: Today, Tomorrow, Always? report analyses the role of the Chief Data Officer, finding that only 2 per cent of FTSE100 companies has elevated this position to senior level. This is in spite of the fact that research from global marketing intelligence firm IDC reveals that 77 per cent of FTSE100 company executives consider data and analytics to be the most important technology trend of the next three years.

So why is this the case? At a time when UK businesses need to put effective organisational structures in place to maximise the benefits of ‘datafication’ while ensuring that all regulatory, legal and security procedures are in place, why are the big corporates not acting? Of course, they are not alone; the dearth of board level data officers extends into all businesses, from public sector organisations to SMEs.

One of the key issues is recruitment. There are few individuals with the right skill set required for this challenging role. A Chief Data Officer needs to combine a degree of technical skill with a highly tuned commercial agenda. He or she is required to communicate with authority with their board level peers, putting forward innovative strategies for developing the benefits of properly managed data to create new revenue streams. They must drive business efficiencies while enhancing customer relationships and improving company performance and growth. Add to the lengthy job description the need to ensure the security of all data in line with all regulatory and legal requirements. No wonder there are so few about.

With such a tall order, it is not surprising that there is an increasing trend toward organisations looking to external partners to provide resource and support for specific aspects of the role. In this way they are able to supplement the wider experience of the individual with specific expertise. The role of Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) is an aspect of the CDO role; they are often one in the same person. Providing CISO support, or even fulfilling the CISO role in entirety, is a way to enhance the CDO’s role, while also allowing him or her to focus on the wider picture.

SRM has extensive experience of providing CISO support for businesses of all scales. Our service is entirely bespoke, delivering as much or as little as is required. From board level engagement to scoping and conducting penetration tests. From Red Team engagement which provides a hacker’s eye view of an organisations’ frailties to GDPR compliance. For smaller businesses we can provide a Virtual CISO (vCISO) with access to our specialist team whenever needed.

Given the fact that GDPR is yet to be enacted and some of the fine detail is still being confirmed, SRM’s GDPR expertise adds particular value to the CDO’s role. Our GDPR consultants are trained through a GCHQ-approved qualification and are able to advise on the strategic management of GDPR compliance or take on the full Data Protection Officer (DPO) role.

For a no obligation conversation about SRM’s CISO, vCISO and GDPR contact Mark Nordstrom.


Learn more

GDPR – The General Data Protection Regulation

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