A chief data officer (CDO) is a C-level corporate executive responsible for an organization's data management and data mining. The CDO position is related to, but separate from, the job of the chief information officer (CIO). As a rule, the CDO reports to either the chief technology officer (CTO) or the chief executive officer (CEO) of the organization.
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The CDO's main purpose is maximizing the value the company can realize from the increasing amount of data it generates and maintains. The CDO ensures that the business is collecting the appropriate data to serve its needs, analyzes that data and uses the results to support business decisions.
The CDO position arose in response to the demands created by a massive increase in the amount of data that is generated and collected by corporations, an ongoing trend sometimes referred to as big data. According to Gartner research, 4.4 million IT jobs will be created to support big data within the next two years, 1.9 million in the United States alone.
Shawn Banerji, managing director of the executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates, predicts that fifty percent of all Fortune 500 companies will have CDOs by 2015, up from five percent in 2012.