Role Redefined: Chief Data Officer

According to IT research and advisory company, Gartner, approximately 90 percent of large organizations will have a Chief Data Officer by the year 2019.

What is a Chief Data Officer?

A Chief Data Officer (or CDO) is a senior executive responsible for a company’s data, governance, information strategy, policy development, and effective exploitation of company data, spanning the entire enterprise.

The Chief Data Officer (average annual salary: $179,039) is different from an executive with the same acronym: the Chief Digital Officer. The Chief Data Officer is accountable for verifying which information a company will capture, retain, and exploit, and for what purpose. The Chief Digital Officer’s responsibility is limited to technology or information systems that store and process the organization’s data.

invisible business man and data server concept

Why was the Chief Data Officer position created?

According to MicroStrategy CMO, Mark Gambill, “The CDO was born as an attempt to create a bridge between functional leaders who need information in real time and the IT department”.

Gambill explained that the rise of the internet allowed everybody to have information about everything. It became “challenging, frustrating, and expensive” to gather all the available information. Experts realized that there was a need to build the right infrastructure that will help them access and extract data.

Part of the CDO’s responsibility is to investigate platforms and security. Then, he or she would generate surroundings which would allow users to access necessary information.

Simply put, the CDO helps users to access essential data on their own laptops and PCs, without having to approach the IT Department in order to retrieve the data. The CDO makes sure that an organization’s system is seamless while it operates.

However, like other executive roles, the CDO has his or her share of concerns.

What are some of the challenges that CDO face?

Governance and leadership

According to Martin Fleming, VP, Chief Analytics Officer and Chief Economist at IBM Corp., the primary and most crucial challenges that CDOs face are governance and leadership.

Fleming said that a CDO can face marked challenges in reorganizing expenses, altering management, and “the ability to create the business benefit from taking the broader view of data”.

Redundant responsibilities

Some companies hire a CDO without a clear view of that person’s responsibilities. According to Michael Guggemos, CIO at Insight Enterprises, most of the CDOs he knows are “actually doing the board-level responsibility of a CIO.”

Reporting structures are different for each organization

CDOs have a C-level designation. However, some CDOs are subsidiary to other C-level roles. Some report to the COO while others report to the CFO. In some companies, the CDO reports to the Chief Digital Officer.

People tend to resist change

It can sometimes be an arduous task to obtain technology investment capital, executive-level support, or the authority needed to successfully affect positive change within the organization.

According to VP and North American Practice Leader of Digital Advisory Services at Capgemini Consulting, Tony Fross, CDOs need to “have ownership of an enterprise strategy with broad horizontal input.”

How can CDOs affect positive organizational change?

Following are some tips from Bill Schmarzo, Chief Technology Officer of Dell EMC Global Services Big Data Practice:

Identify the organization’s targeted business initiative

The CDO should have a clear and solid understanding of key business initiatives.

Estimate the fiscal value of the business initiative

The CDO should have a general approximation of the objective business initiative’s financial worth. This can help drive conversations between t key business stakeholders and the CDO regarding the estimated financial worth or the business initiative objective.

Identify use cases supporting target business initiative

The CDO needs to identify use cases or collections of decisions that support the targeted business initiative. In order to achieve this, the CDO must interview key business stakeholders to discover key decisions which must be made in order to support the business initiative objective. Subsequently, the CDO should place those decisions into common use cases.

Estimate financial value of use cases

The CDO will estimate the fiscal value of each use case by using a simple polling system involving all business stakeholders.

Identify potential sources of data

The CDO should conduct interviews with business stakeholders to recognize potential sources of data which could be useful in support of the organization’s business initiative.

Estimate financial value of the data

The CDO will combine the fiscal value of each use case with the relative impact of each data source to calculate a general estimate of the worth of each data source across all use cases. Schmarzo advises that CDOs keep this as simple as possible.

FInancial data

What does the future hold for CDOs?

Gartner states that by 2020, possibly 15 percent of all successful CDOs will progress to CEO, COO, CMO or other C-Level roles.

Jamie Popkin, VP and Gartner Fellow, and co-author of the research said, “This [CDO], is a new business function, equal to IT and HR, finance, supply chain and any of the operations departments.”

Popkin explained that the CDOs have a broad scope of responsibilities “because the position cuts across an organization.”

CDOs can help teams change the way they do things and they can show these teams when and where a business model or a process breaks down.

Popkins stated that Gartner researchers have come to the conclusion that organizations are involved in bidding wars for top CDOs who have revealed what they are capable of.

Fred Coon, CEO


Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Career Spotlight: Chief Brand Officer

Here, we will take a glimpse into one of the more obscure executive roles: The Chief Brand Officer.  Its decided obscurity is certainly not helped by the acronym which it shares with another role, the Chief Business Officer.

In contrast, the Chief Brand Officer (median U.S. salary $110,860) is a comparatively new executive level position that has risen as a direct result of new marketing practices and demands. Specifically noted are those sectors of new technology and market overlap, particularly social media strategy and evolving branding. Branding, to a modern company, is everything; and the game is far removed from what it used to be. There was a time when issues of branding once revolved almost entirely around consistency, consumer loyalty, and image. When we look at the major brand players of the last century, we see their efforts were often primarily condensed to attaching the same picture or font on the side of a product for 50 years. Furthermore, it worked. Now however, things are very different.

Chief Brand Officer - business people at conference table with laptop

Successful modern brand management is not about manufacturing consumer loyalty, as traditional conceptions of brand loyalty have become generally unrecognizable. Today, it is about riding the cultural wave of technology and creating engagement, primarily through social media and the savvy use of internet memes.

As such, the skills set of the CBO can be quite extensive and may well include some or all of the following:

  • Advertising
  • Consumer experience
  • Engagement
  • Marketing
  • Public relations
  • Customer Service

As many companies have learned the hard way, what matters most to people is responsiveness and transparency. No one may want to “make friends” with a corporation, however, a company that demonstrates a sharp wit and sense of humor over social media (looking at you, Wendy’s twitter), as well as taking their media-generated inquiries and concerns seriously, will prompt incredible amounts of consumer response and favor.

A Deeper Look

Susan Gulenius, CEO of Keysplach Creative Inc. suggests that the CBO be a powerhouse of six different hats: the Champion, the Innovator, the Owner, the Visionary, the Motivator, and the Partner.

Now, while this may seem an excessive amount of headwear for any single individual to manage, when considering her position more carefully, we find they actually blend in and out of one another quite well. The champion, owner, and partner all merge to denote a person who acts as the voice and presentation of the company, who takes ownership for and of that image, and also stands to mitigate misconceptions (both external and internal) as they may arise. The innovator and the visionary roles blend into the creative vision, leading into the path toward its final execution; and the motivator gets them all going in the same direction.

The Overview

First and foremost, a Chief Brand Officer has to understand their essential role as organic and dynamic; far more so than their traditional contemporaries on the executive level.

In many ways, the marketing game has turned nearly upside-down from what it reliably was 20 years ago. It used to be the brand made the market. Now, the market demands a flexible, clever, and dynamic branding approach. Thanks to the connective power of the internet, your consumers get together en mass and compare notes. This has, unfortunately taken many inflexible companies “face first into the wall”. Conversely, fluid companies have used this to their marked advantage. What consumer report could be more useful than conclusions drawn directly from their customers, informing in transparent terms what they do and do not want?

Chief Brand Officer - professionals in conference room

The clever executive will utilize every tool at their disposal. Likewise, a competent and savvy Chief Brand Officer could well be the edge your company has been looking for; or as a C-level job seeker, perhaps a role you may personally seek for your own.

Fred Coon, CEO


At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.

Marketing Management and the Technological Age

Marketing managers are responsible for creating strategies that help businesses meet their sales objectives.

They manage and coordinate marketing and creative staff, and lead the market research team in efforts to discover the viability of existing products and/or services. They are also responsible for coordinating with advertising agencies and media organizations.



An organization’s marketing department relies on the marketing manager’s guidance and direction in executing strategic marketing plans, while company leaders count on marketing managers to achieve business objectives with best possible results.

Traditional Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

Years ago, marketers relied on traditional marketing practices to launch their product or service. They relied on print ads in newspapers and magazine, and some made use of television, radio, and static billboards. Others printed flyers, and hired people to put them in mailboxes.

Yet, with the advancement of technology, a new type of marketing was born:  Digital marketing (in its simplest description) involves creating a business website and advertising the brand on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Related:  Growing Your Business Through Video Marketing

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Traditional Marketing?


  1. People are already accustomed to traditional marketing.  Despite the continuous advancements in technology, people still look at ads on TV, billboards, newspapers and magazines.
  2. You can reach your target local audience easilyMarketers can arrange for a TV or radio ad to be played in certain locations, based on demographics. On an even more “grass roots” level, individuals can be employed to place flyers in mailboxes in specific regions.
  3. People tend to keep newspapers, magazines, and flyersSince people have a hard copy of these materials, they sometimes keep them and they tend to go over them again and again.
  4. People find this type of marketing easy to understandSince people have been exposed to this type of marketing for several decades, they understand what marketers are trying to say. Traditional marketing makes use of proven techniques that have high success rates.


  1. Traditional marketing can be quite expensiveLocal TV ads may cost anywhere from $200 to $1,500 for a 30-second spot at noon. National ads cost a great deal more, especially when aired during popular events such as the Super Bowl. Such ads cost an average of $3.5 million per spot. Popular reality shows, such as American Idol, have brought in as much as $475,000 per 30-second spot, according to a report by AdWeek.
  2. Companies barely interact with their customers.  Through traditional marketing, manufacturers simply provide information about their product or service, in hopes that consumers will become patrons of their business.
  3. Results from traditional marketing cannot be measured easilyUnlike digital marketing where marketers can easily and quickly measure results, print ads do not offer the same ease of gauging either positive or negative responses.  While TV and radio advertising does provide a certain amount of public feedback, the results usually take a longer time to assess.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Digital Marketing?


  1. It is less expensive.  According to experts, the average monthly cost of traditional marketing for small businesses is $12,188 and the average monthly cost of digital marketing is only $1,998.
  2. Results can be measuredWith digital marketing, marketers can use different tools to measure results. For example, Google Analytics is a free tool that can calculate a company’s return on investment (ROI).
  3. Marketing strategies can be easily refined.  Using online marketing analytics can help test conversion rates at a fraction of the cost of a traditional media campaign. Based on the results that a business gets, marketers can refine strategies to improve the outcome. Digital marketing allows small businesses to compete in the market.
  4. Personal engagement with your target audienceUnlike print ads which some readers tend to scan as they read articles in the newspaper or magazine, digital marketing encourages people to visit the company website and read about the products and/or services that it offers.
  5. Today’s customers want more informationBefore purchasing anything, most customers want to compare reviews of a product or service in addition to getting the opinion of family and friends. These reviews can be easily found online.


  1. Slow or intermittent internet connection can discourage customersA slow connection can discourage potential customers and may make them switch to a competitor.
  2. Many customers still prefer to go to the store. According to a 2016 survey of 1,400 U.S. Consumers, the majority of shoppers still prefer to make purchases in physical stores.
  3. Concerns on privacy issues regarding personal data.  Some individuals prefer not to make online purchases due to concerns on how their personal data may be used by other parties.
hand holds a marker in hand writing down the various strategies of Online Internet Marketing.

Regardless of how consumers feel about traditional marketing, digital marketing is here to stay. The career of a contemporary marketing manager is noticeably different in comparison to that of past decades.

Apart from the responsibilities enumerated earlier, marketing managers of today engage a great number of potential customers through social media. They try to connect with consumers by developing and nurturing working relationships with clientele.

By engaging customers and assuring their needs are met, marketing managers can help foster a greater sense of customer loyalty. This, in turn, increases sales and brings in more profit for the business:  A true win-win.


Fred Coon, CEO

At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.

Business Professions for Innovative Thinkers

For some people, innovative thinking is innate, while others may develop the skill over time.

Yet, one aspect that all innovators have in common is the ability to view situations or issues from alternative perspectives. Instead of creating what is already in demand, they may invent a product that people did not know they needed; as in the iPhone, for example.

On January 9, 2007, Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone. As of July 2016, 13 different iPhone models have been released and approximately one billion iPhones have been sold worldwide since it was first launched.

Before the iPhone was introduced, consumers were quite happy with their traditional cell phones. Yet, despite the hefty price tag that came with the new Apple product, as of June 29th, 2007, thousands of people were reported to be waiting outside of apple stores, awaiting its release.  Of course, the rest, as they say, is history.

Bright idea in hand

It goes without saying that innovative thinkers stand out because of the following traits:

1.   Innovative thinkers are always curious.

Innovative thinkers are seldom satisfied with the information that is given to them. They always want to learn more. Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) invented the electric light bulb, the telegraph, phonograph, and alkaline storage batteries. As a teenager, he was open-minded and learned to prove ideas through objective experimentation and examination.

2.   Their ideas are fueled by their imagination.

“The greatest scientists are artists as well.” — Albert Einstein

Wernher von Braun is considered to be the “father of the U.S. space program.”His vision for the future paved the way for the present day’s space age. He knew at a young age that man would be able to build space stations and spacecraft styled after airplanes.

3.   Innovative thinkers have a sixth sense when it comes to creating or inventing new things.

Innovative thinkers have an instinct for creating life-changing inventions. Nikola Tesla is considered one of the most respected technological scientists of all time. He invented the fluorescent lightbulb, the induction motor, and created alternating current. He proved the current’s safety by passing it through his own body.

4.   They have the ability to change ideas or things into new and different combinations.

Galileo Galilei was referred to as the “father of modern astronomy, physics, and science.” He was not the inventor of the telescope but he was the first person to use it well. He made improvements to existing technology at that time and was able to discover the four largest moons of Jupiter. This, in turn, helped him verify that the sun is at the center of the center of the solar system.

5.   They are persistent.

Steve Jobs changed the world through technological advancements, but he was not always successful. Although he was forced out of Apple in 1985, he returned in 1996, revolutionizing the company and the entire computer industry into what we know today.

These innovative thinkers became successful because of the traits that they possess. They all had passion for what they did, but in today’s modern world, passion alone is often not enough to become successful without the right career plan.

According to Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, individuals should choose a vocation that interlocks with your skills set as well as your values.  She continued, there are two basic ways to achieve the right level of motivation to reach your goals:

  • Promotion
  • Prevention

What is the difference?

1.   Promotion-focused people

  • They see goals as opportunities for advancement, achievement, and rewards.
  • They think about what they might gain if they are successful in fulfilling these goals.
  • However, they tend to be overly-optimistic and more prone to error.
  • They excel at:
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Grabbing opportunities to get ahead of the competition
  • Embracing risk
  • Working fast
  • Generating plenty of options and alternatives
  • Abstract thinking

2.   Prevention-focused people

  • They see goals as security.
  • They focus on not losing everything that they have worked so hard for.
  • They avoid risks and fulfill their responsibilities.
  • They are people that others can rely on.
  • However, they are usually wary of change or taking chances that they tend to work more slowly.
  • They excel at:
  • Being detail-oriented and thorough
  • Reasoning and analytical thinking
  • Planning
  • Accuracy
  • Reliability
  • Anticipating problems

When you have identified what your dominant focus is, you will have an idea of what type of career or occupation you will excel in.

According to Dr. Halvorson’s analysis, innovative thinkers are promotion-focused people. Therefore, we want to know:

What are the top business professions for innovative thinkers?

Although innovation is often used interchangeably with creativity, there is a marked difference. Creativity involves “unleashing the potential” of the mind to think of new ideas, while innovation introduces change into stable systems.

Business concept, Global Strategy Virtual Icon.Innovation Graphs Interface. Worldwide connection technology interface.

The following are just a few of the best professions for innovative thinkers:

1.   Commercial and industrial engineers

Their main focus is on how customers interact with technical products and services, such as cell phones and online shops. They do research and collect data on market needs and customer behavior. Based on their findings, they improve a product’s design and ease of use and they make sure that improvements made are flawlessly integrated with existing products or services.

2.   Graphic designers

They communicate ideas visually for promotional or commercial purposes. They make use of words, images, and symbols to create logos, posters, packaging, and other products. They work closely with advertising, marketing, and communications people.

3.   Interior designers

They are responsible for planning and furnishing the interior of residential, commercial, and industrial spaces. They make sure that these spaces are aesthetically pleasing, fully functional, and safe. They work with architects, engineers, and builders. Many of today’s interior designers are focused on developing environment-friendly and sustainable spaces.

4.   Editors

Editors are responsible for planning, reviewing and revising written material for publication. They work with writers and together they explore new ideas and establish a schedule while maintaining specific style standards. They verify facts, correct grammar, and reorganize content to improve readability. They also make sure that the written content appeals to the target audience.

5.   Technical writers

The main responsibility of technical writers is to communicate complex information to a general audience via informative but easy to understand articles. They work with other writers, product designers, engineers, customer support specialists, and editors who help obtain data and offer feedback on the draft and the final product.

6.   Multimedia artists

They combine visual art with animation, sound, and storytelling using cameras, computers, and a variety of software. They are responsible for creating video games, music videos, informational videos, commercials, etc.


While there are surely a number of other jobs suitable for innovative thinkers, as seen from the aforementioned careers, each one requires a certain degree of technical skills. These skills can be learned by anyone who is driven toward this type of career.

Generally, innovators are obsessed with making the world better. They want to bring value to the market and they are focused on improving human life.

It is only logical, therefore, to encourage innovative thinking in school and in business.

Fred Coon, CEO


At SC&C we offer Career Analysis to help senior decision-makers from all walks of life identify strategies and tactics to increase their value-add employment potential.