8 Skills CAOs Must Have to Succeed

TrustIf your company is one of the increasing number that’s decided to hire a chief analytics officer, you’ve probably begun your search as everyone else has: with the job description. And if you’re struggling with how to define the role and its responsibilities, you’re not alone.

The CAO is a new role, after all, and most companies don’t have established job descriptions to fall back upon. For most organizations, this is still uncharted territory.

That gives IQ Workforce an unusual perspective. We’ve been in the analytics business for more than a decade, so we’ve watched the field grow and evolve. We’ve also worked with a number of organizations to recruit for senior analytics positions, which has given us exceptional expertise in developing job descriptions for these roles.

Probably, you’ve already compiled a list of the job’s responsibilities. This is a great start. As you flesh out the job description, be sure to consider these skills.

Eight Skills a CAO Should Have

  1. Business acumen. Harnessing the power of data to accelerate business outcomes means being able to see opportunities that others might miss. A candidate strong in analytics may be able to read the data, but CAOs need to go further: They must be astute in how the data applies to business issues.
  2. Strategic vision. The use of analytics represents a fundamental shift in the way organizations do business. Are your candidates able to shape a strong vision and articulate a strategy for achieving it?
  3. Communications skills. Storytelling is an increasingly important skill for executives to have. The ability to explain complex findings in simple terms and present them in a powerful narrative is critical for getting major initiatives off the ground.

    The ability to influence and motivate

  4. Leadership skills. With data residing in silos across most organizations, the CAO must be able to influence business unit leaders and motivate teams. The ability to set goals and expectations and hold others accountable is a core requirement.
  5. Education skills. Leveraging data for business insights is still a new endeavor. Indeed, more many companies, it represents an enormous shift. An effective CAO will spend much of their time helping other business leaders understand the value of analytics and how they can use them to the organization’s advantage.
  6. Cross-channel experience. Candidates who have worked in and across several data silos – Web analytics and market research, for example – will be better able to synthesize analysis and develop insights.
  7. Cross-silo experience. A combination of technology, quant and business expertise is essential for a CAO. This unique set of experience is foundational, and sets the stage for developing a broader vision.
  8. Human resources. With a new office comes a new team. Experience designing, developing and hiring teams will help drive initiatives forward. The successful CAO knows how to define roles and responsibilities for future positions. A keen understanding of the skills needed will help them define effective training programs.

Of course, the required skills and abilities of your CAO must align with the goals of your organization. That aside, our experience tells us these eight form the basis of the role.


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