Black digital gold
Data is like crude oil. It only has real value once refined. A pile of CVs has no value. But ‘how many candidates based in New York have Java skills?’ is valuable (to someone). So the pile is data and the answer to the query is information.
Being a Chief Data Officer would imply that the focus should be data management – storing the data securely and efficiently. If this was the oil industry the crude would never ever reach the refinery.
Being the Chief IT Manager Officer would be an improvement as the focus would be on storage as well as the processing of the data. At best we would have an efficient set of processes and technologies to extract and refine the oil.
I would like to suggest that the CIO does not focus on these activities, though they are important, but focuses on new ways of extracting value from the crude oil so to speak. That goes one step beyond the mindset of ‘this is what the organisation asked for’ (reactive) to ‘what other value-enhancing (innovative) things can we do with the crude oil’ (proactive).
In this respect data becomes an asset to the organisation and it becomes the CIO’s job to sweat that asset. So the CIO becomes the CFO of information.
In a digital economy, I believe this would propel the CIO from operational supplier to fully fledged c-suite player. CIOs that don’t get this need to be sent back to the oil rig.