DAMA International Community Corner: The CDO – There Should be Passion!

COL04 Image - DAMA CommunityThe CDO is the new “profession” that everyone wants! From its beginnings, some 5 to 10 years back (or even longer), where we began the journey with people who “got data” to the current crop of CDO’s who are more than numerous and have popped up out of the woodwork, it’s been a bit of a mystery as to what exactly a CDO does or even is.

In my opinion, the first thing a CDO should have is passion. Passion for data and passion for getting it right, better, useful, valued….

Next is knowledge of the business he or she is working in. I don’t mean the in-depth, I know everything about this skinny vertical line of work that I do kind of knowledge – I am referring to the broader knowledge that is only gained from actually working in the business – in different areas, doing different jobs, and soaking up all the knowledge like a sponge. And yep – it’s wonderful if they have a strong position in the organization already, but not so desperately wonderful that it’s a good idea to give the CDO role to just anyone in the Executive suite to get rid of it.

Thirdly, be an amazing communicator – I mean a really amazing communicator – like a stage actor. Data is kind of boring – yes, I have said it – DATA IS BORING! Seriously, it is. To the average man in the street (or woman), it’s deadly stuff. Worse than trying to read one of those classic books that we get choked with at school. Deader than an inanimate object. Less fun than watching a kettle boil. So a CDO needs to work out how to change that perception, and share his/ her new knowledge in such a way that everyone falls in love with data!

It actually doesn’t really matter where in the organization the CDO sits … If they have a direct line of sight to the CEO and they are respected inside the organization. The CDO’s primary function should be to evangelise data and what it can do – for everybody. Which includes innovatively considering how a data regulation can be one of the good guys and not one of the bad guys! You can’t do that without passion. Passion helps you to think outside the box, to be ready to change, to encourage other people to join you in your journey, but most of all to care about the outcome.

I know that most people don’t have the same passion for data that we DM professionals do. I get it – I even find myself yawning sometimes and wondering what all the fuss is about. Most especially if faced with someone who lacks the passion I need to see and hear.

I think that the day we let go of the old idea that a “C-level” must come from the executive and realize that data people really are born and may exist anywhere, that will be the day we start to find CDO’s who really have that magic feeling and that is also the day that data suddenly grows into its own. I am hoping to be around still, maybe in my rocking chair, but who knows …

Note to DAMA Readers

We are already almost through the first month of 2017; time seems to fly when dealing with data day in and day out.

2017 is the year of change and forward movement for DAMA. It is the year we drive forward with our membership (adding Corporate to our list), the CDMP (more exams, easier re-certification, dedicated workshops, and a drive to increase training material), working even more closely with our Chapters to deliver value, publishing DMBoK 2 (in many different ways to meet the many different needs), and beginning the alignment of Mike 2.0 to DMBoK 2.

If we look back on last year, we can count our successes:

  • We currently have close on 500 members centrally (growing monthly), which complements the 1000s at our Chapter level
  • The CDMP revamp has been successful with almost 100 people certifying in 2016 and around 250 individuals requesting their rebranded certificate. Certainly an “elite” place to be
    • Exams are completely online so prospective students take these exams on their own time, in comfort, when they want to
    • Re-certification is now available through a comprehensive logbook and question submission process
    • We are still offering a “pay if you pass” process at a number of conferences this year
  • DMBOK 2 is on its last review iteration with the planned release date in Q2 this year (on track)
    • Formats for the new DMBOK will be much more digitally enabled, but we still retain the printed version (many people still love to scribble notes in the margins)
    • The move to regular digital reviews will gain momentum after publication
    • The alignment of DMBOK 2 and Mike 2.0 is due to kick off Q3 2017
  • Attendance at our premier Data Management conferences is increasing, and DAMA is finding other outlets for focused and targeted data topics
  • We reached 10,000 LinkedIn members in November 2016
  • Our Facebook page is growing slowly but surely
  • We have become regular “tweeters” (follow us on @dama_international)

So what will 2017 bring?

  • We are celebrating our 21st conference birthday at EDW 2017 – watch out for more details
  • The 2016 DAMA International Data Management Person/ Organization of the Year award nominations are open (https://www.dama.org/content/2016-dama-international-award-data-management-excellence); so, if you know of a deserving individual or organization, please send your nominations. Closing date is 14th February 2017
  • Release/ Publication date for DMBoK 2 will be announced at EDW 2017
  • CDMP Fellow Program to be announced at EDW 2017, and nominations will open at the end of the conference
  • Planning for our 30th birthday celebration in 2018 starts in June 2017 (Yes, DAMAI is almost 30 years old)
  • Central Corporate Memberships will be available by end January 2017
  • 4 or 5 new chapters are already gaining momentum for their inaugural meetings this year and we are looking to start chapters in other areas of the world

So, lots taking place in 2017 and more to come as we continue to grow and develop into the professional body we all need!

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DAMA International

DAMA International

DAMA, the Data Management Association International is a not-for-profit, vendor independent association of technical and business professionals dedicated to advancing the concepts and practices for data resource management and enterprise information. The primary purpose of DAMA International is to promote the understanding, development, and practice of managing data and information to support business strategies. DAMA International has chapters and members throughout the world.  Visit and become a member of DAMA by clicking here.

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