Derek Edwards is CEO of big data analytics firm Globys.

There is no doubt that this year was marked by the explosive interest in big data and the desire for every enterprise to get smarter about their customers, their business, and their bottom line.

With data analytics at the forefront of enterprises determining how to become more strategic, impactful, customer-oriented, and competitive, comes a shift in what is required of today’s chief executive officer.

Here are my predictions for the future of the data-driven CEO and insights on how this evolution will empower organizational-wide transformation:

1. CEOs will develop a discerning eye for talent

Becoming a data-centric organization requires new competencies and forces significant organizational and cultural change. CEOs leading successful data-driven companies will adopt data-driven skill sets, processes, and cultures. They will build their own core skill-sets around data analytics while at the same time adapting, expanding, and training their teams. They will focus on recruiting to put in place talent rich in data analytics expertise and ensure the right teams surround them. In some cases, this will require the hire of a Chief Data Scientist and a team of statisticians. For others, it will require the placement of a new data-driven CMO. Lastly, they will empower these A-teams to test unconventional techniques, extract their own data-driven insights, and most importantly, act upon these insights to drive break-through innovations.

2. CEOs will establish a firm grasp on technology

Technological innovation and automation are what allow businesses to take advantage of the data they have to drive better business performance. Most successful CEOs are either already very quantitatively driven or creative visionaries. Regardless of the “tendency” that makes them successful, they will see big data as an enabler to their success — finding ways to use insights from big data to augment their ability to achieve their goals.

To do so, they will take advantage of smart technologies that harness data in new ways, regardless of the complexity, to meet overall business objectives. They will embrace technology and make it a key part of their core skill set. We will see CEOs become well versed in all of the technologies that support data-driven decision-making whether for marketing, sales, finance, or other departments.

3. CEOs will advance their analytical chops

CEOs of tomorrow’s smart businesses will rely more heavily on data to make decisions that impact every aspect of the business. They will embrace data in all of its forms and use it as a core asset to become smarter about everything that they do. They will define what success looks like, and then hold teams accountable for measurement using quantifiable metrics. They will ask the right questions based on information derived from big data analysis. And they will know when not to ask any questions at all, i.e., to let the data speak for itself.

Above all else, CEOs at the helm of data-driven businesses will use big data analytics to drive transparency, relevance, and results across the entire enterprise.

Derek EdwardsDerek Edwards is CEO of big data analytics firm Globys. He has spent the past 16 years building businesses based on data and analytics technology. In 1996, he cofounded CallVision and as president and CEO successfully grew the business until he sold it to VeriSign in 2005. Derek continued to lead the business as a vice president at VeriSign until 2008 when he led the spinout of Globys from VeriSign.


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