The Role of Women in the Big Data Revolution

The major hindrance to optimal utilization of Big Data and analytics investments in most big firms has been overcoming cultural barriers. The main inhibitors the corporate are facing include organizational arrangement challenges, poor communication between the business and departments involved in technical matters, and execution of crucial business processes. In addition, a business seeks to be guaranteed that commitment of resources to technical matters will produce measurable business results.

Women have a major role to play in conquering the cultural hindrances and leading the important business functions that are key to realizing the business value from putting resources in Big Data and analytics.

For businesses to benefit from the use of big data, they should have access to well-skilled personnel. Instead, they may opt to outsource the services of professional firms who are experts in big data consulting services.

So what roles can women play in shaping the Big Data revolution?

Women executives have been witnessed playing a major role in crafting the emerging function of the Chief Data Officer (CDO).The position of the CDO is a fairly new one and is being adopted as a key business function among the main executive positions. Most firms are realizing the importance of the position as can observed by the increase in the number of firms that have created the position, with 12% of businesses taking on this role in 2012 to about 50% in 2017.

The highest number of firms that have created this position are in the insurance and financial services. This is possibly due to the great regulation of these industries and the huge volume of data handled. Companies in these industries also seem to have developed better data management procedures.

Women have been instrumental in shaping the role of the CDO, as can be evidenced by the number of the women executives in those companies that adopted this position. These women have provided the necessary leadership in the crafting of this position and the management of data at large.

Holding high data management positions

Women are taking major responsibilities as high corporate leaders or are being appointed in senior corporate positions mandated with data management in major financial services firms and insurance companies. The list of women holding Chief Data Officer position is quite large. In addition, there are many women holding other data related positions such as Chief Analytics Officer or as Head of Big Data and Analytics Centers of Excellence. This certainly shows that women have confidently taken the mantle in the big data revolution.

Data conferences

Meetings between CDOs are held to share ideas and gain knowledge from one another, and even highlighting women CDOs specifically. Women charged with data management get to network and further strengthen data management, fueling the Big Data revolution.

Possession of vital skills and qualities

Women have the necessary “soft skills” or people management skills, coupled with business processes skills that are essential in driving the data revolution. The barriers to adoption of data in businesses are majorly due to cultural issues rather than technical ones. Women are able to handle these well. A number of intrinsic traits in women make them great leaders in data management. Traits that make women good data team leaders are intuition and good listening skills. Empathy and compassion are crucial to managing and realizing the success of a data and analytics team.

Generally, women are playing a major role in shaping the Big Data revolution and their input will go a long way to making adoption of Big Data a reality in most of the firms.

Thanks to Ethan Clark

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