Data Governance

Challenges CDOs in Finance Are Facing in 2021

Angelika Sebokova
July 2, 2021 | 7 min read
The first role of a Chief Data Officer appeared in 2002 . Since then, it has evolved, and its competencies and overall focus have become more defined. In large financial companies, the CDO was originally responsible mostly for enterprise risk management and regulatory compliance.

Recently, however, the role is moving away from these objectives and shifting more towards business growth. This applies foremost to those organizations that seek to leverage data and analytical modelling to gain informed insights into the markets, customers, products, and means by which they operate the business to benefit stakeholders.

The competitive environment of the market is pushing enterprises to not only try and find a way to monetize their data, but also provide insights and leverage for various business functions. As data truly becomes an asset to the organization and is treated as such at the board level, the main task for CDOs nowadays is to become a strategic business enabler for a wide range of departments–growth, cost, risk, compliance.

To help the company become a truly “insight-driven organization”, CDOs are facing several challenges:

  1. Data ownership and language unification

  2. Integration of data from multiple systems

  3. Monetizing the company data

Let's take a closer look at each of these challenges:

Data ownership and language unification

To establish a clear data strategy and direction, the CDO must become the steward and owner of data within the organization. This inevitable step will allow the CDO to become the leader of the data transformation in the company pursuing the vision of a data-driven organization, stimulating the new approach to how data can be utilized.

Moreover, the importance of transferring data ownership to one person can bring the company other benefits such as the unification of the language to which the whole business can relate. Having a clear understanding of the individual goals and initiatives will lead to the alignment of business objectives across each department, boosting their efficiency and results.

Integration of data from multiple systems

Too many systems housing the same data make it too complicated to evaluate the performance and success of the business. Leaders and decision-makers of the company now want to have a clear view and understanding of their data, leaving the CDOs facing a second big challenge–to create a single source of truth relatable to all subjects within the board level, providing them with the exact data they need to make informed decisions.

To overcome this challenge, having data stored across several silos and legacy systems is not the way to go. As it is common for big organizations to have their data stored in individual systems that differ from one department to another, the process of integrating all data into one single system could become a long and time-consuming process. Although this task might take up the majority of the CDOs time at first, it is worth investing this time to better understand the state of the data and where it needs to be, going forward.

While working on integrating the data from multiple databases, the CDOs need to bear in mind that the data integration can improve data quality but might also hamper it. Thus, a single approach to integration and data quality improvements at the source, led by the CDO, would make the whole project successful.

Monetizing the company data

In this fast-paced, data-dependent world all organizations, including banks and insurance companies, need to look for new ways to monetize the value of their data, and to do this they need to understand and perceive their data as an asset. The reasons to monetize data are varied: to gain competitive advantage, understand the needs of customers better, strengthen their partnerships, improve the product, introduce new services or business lines, and drive revenue.

While the majority of companies still struggle with disjointed legacy systems and fragmented data sources, those companies that have centralized data sets are gaining a huge competitive advantage in the market. Having large amounts of data that is ready and easier to monetize helps enterprises dominate the market, enabling them to choose whether they want to monetize data directly or indirectly.

Indirect monetization serves perfectly for internal purposes, improving the internal processes, reforming business models, and providing departments with important insights to their business objectives. Direct monetization allows the company to sell the data directly, through licensing models or subscriptions. CDOs seem to be the major role responsible for commercializing the company’s data assets.


A rapidly evolving market environment and competition is pushing financial institutions to reconsider the way they view their data. Understanding the value of data and observing the emerging data monetization opportunities, enterprises now have different expectations from their CDOs. The role of the CDO is therefore shifting from its original risk and regulatory function more towards business growth. The most important challenges a CDO might need to solve are to first become a data steward of all data within the organization, drive the integration of data from multiple silos and legacy systems, and find ways to help the company monetize their data.

The Accurity platform, from Simplity, enables CDOs to overcome all these new challenges by running the business operationally, as opposed to just monitoring trends. Accurity empowers CDOs to become a catalyst of change, helping to build and promote company-wide understanding and complete trust in their data.

In the first instance, a clearly defined business data model brings ownership and unifies the language of data across the entire business, allowing the CDO to make that important cultural shift within the company.

Implementing data quality and integration of disjointed and overly complex systems becomes smoother and data processing times are reduced when using Accurity, allowing CDOs to spend more time on tasks outside of their traditional risk management and regulatory compliance responsibilities.

Reference data management supports a CDO in maintaining actual and valid company-wide shared lists of values. Versioning and auditing ensure traceability and transparency of any reports a CDO needs to provide to decision makers.

Accurity is the right product to tie all these areas together reducing risk, increasing compliance, decreasing costs, enabling stewardship of a company’s data, creating 360-degree data views, helping to unlock the value of data, and encouraging a CDO to develop and champion innovative growth strategies that monetize their data. Sign up for free to Accurity SaaS to evaluate it yourself, or request a free personalized demo to discuss your challenge with us.


Angelika Sebokova
Marketing Specialist