Defining the Modern CDAO: Edosa Odaro

Edosa Odaro, CDAO at Saudi Arabian insurer Tawuniya, shares the major lessons from his journey as an analytics leader

Throughout this podcast’s nine seasons, data leaders have regularly shared their respective journeys through the industry.

In this week’s Business of Data podcast, we’ve dedicated the episode to Edosa Odaro’s journey to his current role as CDAO at Saudi Arabian insurance company, Tawuniya. As is the case for many CDAOs today, Odaro is Tawuniya’s first analytics chief, giving him the advantage of defining the role and proving how it adds value to the organization.

“One of the key things for me is to help [the organization] understand what ‘data value’ actually means,” he explains. “The way I see it, it’s essential that the data strategy becomes embedded within the actual organizational strategy. That means if the organization aims to grow by a certain amount, I should work out how data can measurably contribute to that.”

A Focus on Self Development

Data leaders place great emphasis on personal branding and development to set themselves apart. As part of his development, Odaro knew he had to conquer his fear of public speaking and his imposter syndrome.

He says: “I realized that if I want to get to the next level, I have to face my demons somehow. That’s pretty much where I started with [publishing on] LinkedIn. I built from there because this growth intersected with my other passion, knowledge sharing.”

Odaro is now a published author, with a second book on the way. His first book, Making Data Work examines some of the common challenges organizations face in unlocking data value. The upcoming book expands on this, exploring how to articulate data’s value.

“Honestly, there are a lot of fantastic books that talk about showing value, and they give granular detail. But I’ve sat on some boards and interacted with many senior execs and management, and that kind of sophisticated value doesn’t really speak to them. So, this book is about the balance between being too vague, too detailed and how you can make data work for the organization,” he concludes.

Key Takeaways

  • Defining the CDAO’s role: For Odaro, this is about understanding data’s value and how it can contribute meaningfully to the organization’s overall strategy
  • Meeting in the middle. Data and organizational strategies tend to be developed independently, if data is to make a meaningful contribution, it must be embedded in the organizational goals
  • On personal development. Today’s data leader realizes the importance of personal development. Odaro’s journey needed him to conquer his fear of public speaking

Edosa Odaro will be speaking at the third edition of the Global Business of Data Festival on 13- 14 July, 2022. You can download the agenda and register for the event here.