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I am encamped this week in hot & steamy Cambridge, MA to attend the annual MIT CDO & Information Quality Forum. One of the key focal points of the conference will be the Role of the Chief Data Officer (CDO). This role along with other new ones such as “Data Scientist” are very contentious (and perhaps dubios) in my opinion. As a student and practitioner of Organizational Design, I find the notion of creating unique roles based on fashion, rather than logic are problematic, especially when they overlap (or duplicate outright) with existing ones (Chief Information Office, Data Analyst, Data Steward, etc.).

During the course of this week’s conference we will hear from a number of folks who have been tagged as “CDO’s” by their organization. Most report to an IT executive which is totally self-defeating in my opinion. I am hoping for a very engaging conversation about the scope and authority of this role, much less why it exists altogether. It should be an interesting dialog and I will report in regularly (via my Twitter account @InfoMgmtExec )

Information Management as a discipline has many challenges, one of them being the delineation of responsibilities & accountabilities between the Business and IT. It is not helpful to further cloud this issue by inventing new roles with nebulous responsibilities that do not address the core issue of; If you believe that “Information is an Asset” then “Who owns the Accountability for Information at the end of the day?

Standby for further updates from the conference.