(US and Canada) Randy Bean, Founder & CEO of New Vantage Partners, and author of the book “Fail Fast, Learn Faster: Lessons in Data-Driven Leadership in an Age of Disruption, Big Data and AI,” speaks with Nollie Maoto, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, FNB South Africa, about why data leaders need to think differently, the organizational state of data initiatives, impact of Chief Data Officers' role in companies, and the characteristics of a data-driven company.
Bean begins the discussion with a quote from Apple's “Think different” campaign, which addresses the misfits, rebels, and troublemakers as change-makers. Citing that as a metaphor, he says that organizations need to fail fast, learn faster and think differently. He adds that a different set of organizational thinking is required to manage data, and the companies that do not have a flexible and adaptable data approach face the challenges.
He then mentions that organizations are gradually understanding the importance of data, but a majority of the organizations face challenges to make the role successful.
Regarding the state of data initiatives in leading corporations, Bean cites a survey that states 48.5% of organizations drive innovation with data, 41.2% are competing on data and analytics, and only 24% of leaders created data-driven organizations. The data is an indicator of organizational challenges that remain even after investing millions in data initiatives. The reason, he suggests, is the lack of cultural alignment.
Delving further, he states that the CDO role has given data its recognition as a prime asset among C-suites. However, two-thirds of the organizations struggle to make the role successful because they have no clear understanding of the role’s requirements. Bean pinpoints how organizations bring in outsiders who contribute to change without understanding the business aspect, and some organizations rely on insiders who understand business but have no appreciation of data management. In this context, he refers to the introduction of analytics in the data officer's role, giving birth to more chief data and analytics officers. As a benefit, says Bean, this role has helped organizations to shift from the defensive mode to an offensive mode of operations to derive business value from data investment.
Bean concludes by stating that the characteristics of a data-driven company reflect in its relentless effort to improve data quality. He names organizations like Apple, Amazon, Capital One, and American Express, which are never satisfied and continuously strive to learn better.