Why the CDO is about Insights, Not Data

We talk a lot about data being a being a key differentiator in the modern enterprise. But what do we actually mean by that? We already possess way more data than any other generation in the history of mankind, and those volumes are exploding by the day. Do we really want more of it filling up our lakes and warehouses?

Not necessarily.  In fact, it’s not more data that we crave; it’s greater insight from that data.

Stephane Pere, Chief Data Officer, The Economist:
It’s easier first to focus on data activation capabilities to show return on investment. But the real game changer is insights capabilities”.

So says, Stephane Pere, Chief Data Officer at The Economist. And he should know. Since becoming CDO three years ago, Pere has led a transformation at the 100-year-old publisher that has seen data assume a central role in helping to ensure the long-term viability of the brand. The Economist’s data team has won multiple awards for its use of data, which enables them to surface relevant information much faster than before. The key, Pere says, is not just collecting information; it’s making sense of and acting upon it.  And new technologies are proving a key enabler on that journey…

Stephane Pere, Chief Data Officer, The Economist:
You don’t have to go into a huge, expensive, long IT migration project to bring together different data sources. You can go in the cloud; you can throw raw data, not worry so much about cost, not so much about what you’re going to discover, because you’re building the capability to dive into this. And then there is new ways to share this information”.

As Pere points out, what that does is bring the power of those insights to a wider pool of people across the organisation, rather than just a select few with specialist analytical skills. That puts decision-making capabilities in the hands of more of your employees – which potentially makes the business more agile and responsive.

Stephane Pere, Chief Data Officer, The Economist:
I like this idea of democratisation of data, and empowering folks within the business to deep dive and do their own analysis – it shouldn’t be a silo in the company. You might have some experts, but you need to infuse that within the business, and to me that’s one of the most exciting opportunities: easier ways to democratise access to insights”.

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