CDO Conversations: “Data Needs To Be Connected to Strategy”

The role of the modern Chief Data Officer (CDO) requires a combination of vision, strategy, execution, and real-time problem solving. As modern data environments become more complex, it falls to the CDO to not just organize and optimize an enterprise’s data infrastructure, but to deliver business benefits through the data investments the organization has made. In that spirit, data cannot operate in silos at an operational level, but it also cannot function independently of an overarching strategy that seeks to optimize how data is operationalized. 

Acceldata’s Vice President of Global Sales and Field Operations, Dave Yehle, has been helping CDOs solve these problems for many years. In his view, it’s not just about the tools and solutions being applied to data problems. Rather, successful, innovative CDOs are figuring out how to integrate data with business and strategy decisions to better manage business decision-making, and ultimately, business and economic outcomes. 

Yehle recently sat down with Drew Smith, VP, Global Data and Analytics at Little Caesar Enterprises and Ilitch Companies to discuss how this approach to data is helping Little Caesars make decisions about menu items, improve business operations, and forecast restaurant traffic. Smith brought to the conversation his perspective learned from the time he spent at the International Institute for Analytics and with Ikea, the Swedish furniture retailer. 

Talking about the critical traits a CDO or Chief Data and Analytics Officer should possess, Yehle and Smith discuss that while the “chief” title is important, it's primarily about taking responsibility and accountability for the strategic direction of the data and analytics in a company. 

In his current role, Smith says that his prime job is to help leaders make better business decisions and connect the data to strategy — in other words, to make decisions more quickly and with confidence. He maintains that the CDO’s  responsibility is not to let data take charge of the decision-making but to help experienced business leaders enhance their decisions with support from the data.

You can watch Yehle and Smith’s in-depth conversation as part of a series produced by CDO Magazine.