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CDO Challenges – Keeping attention and interest in data developments

This edition of CDO Challenges looks at keeping attention and growing interest in the data team after battling to gain the attention of decision makers and stakeholders.

What do they want? 

First, you need to address what it is that business decision makers are looking for. Examine the business objectives – particularly if your businesses objectives are not aligned with the data objectives – and see if there are any common goals that you can utilise to demonstrate the value of data. For example, if one of the targets is about efficiency, see if there is a data-driven project you can create that can show how data can improve efficiency. A prime example of this in the real world would be if a supply chain business wanted to save money on fuel costs; the data office can highlight how it can project the most efficient and effective routes for vehicles to use, plus examining the fluctuating costs of fuel to buy it from the cheapest source at any given time.  

It is also worth evaluating what specialisms the decision makers at your business have. Was someone previously in finance, IT or operations? If so, see if you can tailor your data projects to involve facets of these departments and you will be more likely to catch their interest. The difficulty with this approach is finding something that works without shoehorning it in haphazardly. If it does not work naturally or does not make sense, do not force it. You can win their attention in other ways. Quality is what is needed, not quantity or gimmicks.  

Keep it relevant 

When you have an idea that you want to present to the decision makers, edit it down, edit it some more and then get someone else to check if it would be relevant. You want to show yourself as efficient and effective as possible and that you know exactly what the business leaders want to be informed about.  

In the modern workplace, it is easy to lose an entire workday to back-to-back meetings. Therefore, it is imperative that you as a CDO are utilising the time of the decision makers as well as your own. You want to get to the stage where every time you meet with the decision makers that they know they are going to be impressed and intrigued by whatever it is you have to say.  

It can be tempting to add in additional information or suggest new ideas because they are interesting to you and the data team, but this may miss the point or the aims of the department you are collaborating with. Make sure you keep the needs of the department front of mind when developing a presentation to promote data: the needs of the operations team will not be the same as those for sales. 

Check in with departments 

It is imperative that you make some time to connect with other departments – leaders and members – to ensure you can accurately understand their projects and aspirations. Furthermore, it helps them better understand data and, in time, develop their data knowledge and confidence

Not only does checking in improve your knowledge of other department aims, but it also improves your standing within the wider organisation. It has been mentioned multiple times by DataIQ members that getting non-data departments to understand the scope and abilities of the data team are hurdles that keep arising. Enhancing the status of data is frequently touted as a key aim for CDOs and this is one prime way to achieve that goal. 

Ultimately, the work you put in here will place the data team in better standing across all departments and to the business decision makers, as well as providing you with invaluable insights into what different players in the organisation need. 

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