23 Jun. 2022

The DNA of the Chief Data Officer

Authored by - Pradeep KarpurKarun GautamBrett Bradley and Colton Cuckow

While balancing data enablement and control, CDOs must ultimately view data as an asset and need to understand how it can be effectively used.

By 2025, global data creation is expected to reach 175 zettabytes1 and the global big data and analytics market is on pace to reach $135.71 b.2 Data will fuel global economic development throughout the remainder of the 21st century. Organizations worldwide are scrambling to reengineer their data strategy to capture increasing amounts of data, translate it into actionable insights and ultimately empower more intelligent business decisions.

Several industries, including technology, banking and consumer goods, have already integrated transformative data initiatives into their strategic approach. But Canadian energy and natural resource (ENR) industries have only just started to fully appreciate the true value of data moving forward:

Oil and gas

The Canadian oil and gas (O&G) sector has historically generated significant and consistent cashflows, reducing the immediate need to develop new data-based competitive advantages. However, unpredictable fluctuations in oil price, global recessions and the transition to renewable energy have pushed most O&G leaders to prioritize developing data competencies that optimize costs and grow revenues.3

Power and utilities

Canada’s power and utility (P&U) systems were designed more than 100 years ago. While these systems worked well in vertically integrated and centrally supplied generation models, distributed renewable generation, new digital technologies and changing consumer expectations are turning the traditional industry model upside down. The future of Canadian P&U supply chains will be interconnected by digital technologies, enabling the flow of power and data in both directions.4

Mining and metals

There is lots of data available in the mining and metals (M&M) industry, but M&M companies have struggled to figure out how to deploy, use and integrate technologies to achieve their strategic priorities.5 However, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the huge potential of digital in the M&M space and many companies plan on increasing investments in digital transformation.6

The single most effective step Canadian ENR companies can take to reengineer and catalyse their data strategy is to hire an effective Chief Data Officer (CDO). EY teams developed this report to examine how an effective CDO is the foundation for building any transformative, digital and data-driven capabilities in a Canadian ENR organization.


For ENR companies in Canada to remain competitive in the volatile global environment, and in the face of their unique trends and challenges, they will need to be prepared to undergo significant digital transformations to make good use of their data. To successfully undergo these transformations, effective CDOs will be crucial members of the C-suite in ENR companies moving forward.

About this article

By Lance Mortlock

EY Canada Managing Partner, Energy

Forward-thinker. Strategist.