Guest Column | April 1, 2015

The White House Is Jumping On The Chief Data Officer Trend, Will Enterprises Follow Suit?

By Jonathan Buckley, Senior VP of Marketing, at Qubole

Government isn’t known for being on the cutting edge of innovation, because bureaucracy often interferes with decision making. It takes a lot of waiting and discussing before something actually gets done, especially when compared to the more nimble private sector.

Having said that, the White House made a pretty historic move just recently. In fact, the decision may prove to be an example that motivates businesses to do the same. The White House recently named Dr. DJ Patil as the nation’s first Chief Data Scientist and Deputy Chief Technology Officer for data policy. Dr. Patil will be responsible for overseeing the country’s policies and practices, and helping the U.S. maximize its return on data investments. Dr. Patil will also be responsible for helping recruit the best data scientists available to help serve the public.

Believe it or not, this move by the White House isn’t the first time we’ve seen government decide to designate individuals over data needs. The Department of Transportation recently hired a chief data officer (CDO), and the Federal Communications Commission was once of the first to get a CDO.

These hirings signal a resurgence in the Obama Administration’s interest in data, which has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs over the past few years. Aside from a few initiatives, this is the biggest leap they’ve taken in quite some time. And if the government sees value in having someone oversee data for the nation, it may be worth investigating its usefulness for businesses.

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