One of the cornerstones of GDPR compliance is appointing someone as a data protection officer for your organization. This person is responsible for ensuring that your systems and data are safe and protected, and presumably, complying with the various articles in the GDPR. Article 37 notes that both a data controller and data processor shall designate a DPO in certain cases.

That makes sense for companies working under GDPR jurisdiction, but for those of us outside the EU, do we need a senior level data executive? I wonder. As I’ve been researching the work by others and working with various clients and customers, it seems that some companies do have an executive, not necessarily in charge of protection, but in charge of data.

This week, I’m wondering if any of you have a Chief Data Officer in your organization. I’ve heard a few people say that if you do, it’s a sign of maturity in your organization, where data is treated as a truly strategic and important asset. You likely have some sort of data quality metric, you many have master data management systems in place, and the organization constantly looks to extract more value from the data they store.

I don’t know if this is a sign of a more mature organization, but I do know that having some resources in place to ensure data quality, mapping your data estate, trying to ensure some level of consistency are signs of more data maturity. I know many of us realize data is important, and certainly our employers want our systems to run smoothly, but do they really make an effort to use data wisely? If so, then I think the company is mature. If not, maybe they’re letting opportunity pass by.

Lots of us data professionals do look for opportunities to better use data, to build useful reports, and find new patterns in data. Whether there’s a Chief Data Officer or not, many of want to explore data and make use of information we find. I think if our organization supports that, we’ll enjoy our jobs more. If not, then maybe the job is just a job for many of us.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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