The CTO's Mission: Driving Digital Transformation Through Data Monetization

3 min read
Mar 4, 2024

Digital transformation is imperative for businesses looking to thrive in today's rapidly evolving landscape. In Gartner’s 2023 Board Of Directors Survey on Business Strategy, 71% of businesses aim to progress on digital optimization—yet only 8% achieve it. This highlights the urgency and challenges spearheading a successful digital transformation strategy.

The Chief Technology Officer (CTO) leads the technology enablement efforts and is key in leveraging technology and data to catalyze growth by enhancing customer experiences, exploring new revenue streams, and driving operational excellence.

The evolving role of the CTO: beyond keeping the lights On

Don’t have time to read the full blog post, listen here.


Traditionally, the CTO function involved maintaining existing infrastructure and applications to ensure smooth operations. However, the scope of the CTO role has expanded dramatically to include identifying and activating digital transformation opportunities. CTOs are now being measured on their ability to monetize data—making decisions impacting business growth. 

While keeping systems up and running remains a key responsibility, the evolving mandate is to drive innovation through new technologies. The focus is not just on technology but on how it can enable fundamental changes to the customer journey and business model.

This entails moving from passive custodians of technology to proactive leaders of change, focused on revenue growth and automating for efficiency, and through initiatives like:

  • Implementing cutting-edge technologies like AI, augmented reality, and virtual reality
  • Enhancing customer experiences by meeting users wherever they are
  • Leveraging data and analytics to improve insights into customer behavior
  • Identifying opportunities to monetize data for competitive advantage

The CTO is, therefore, at the forefront of progressing the organization along its digital transformation journey.

The imperative of digital transformation at your business

Digital transformation requires identifying ways to use technology to reimagine the customer experience, meet users wherever they are, and provide contextual, personalized engagements.

The role also involves leveraging data to gain superior insights into customer segments, including latent needs and behavior patterns. These insights can then drive the development of new products, services, and revenue models to acquire new customers. Digital transformation is the idea that the organization needs to change their customer journey and attract customer segments they currently don't. That requires foundationally new technology requirements.

So, digital transformation entails a dual focus on enhancing engagement channels with customers (applications) and harnessing data to understand customers better.

A CTO's superpower: monetizing data

Data is emerging as the fuel for digital transformation. As I like to put it, we need to think of it as the application front: how I'm interacting with the customer, and the data front: how I create new insights to determine what that journey looks like to create a better understanding of the customer and the transaction itself.

But data needs activation to unlock value. Monetizing data is the superpower CTOs must develop to spearhead digital transformation.

There are 5 key ways to monetize data:

  1. Create better insights into customers and transactions: Applying analytics and AI to extract trends and patterns that provide a granular view of behavior and preferences
  2. Wrap non-data services with data services: Embedding data and insights into offerings like financial services, education, healthcare, etc. to elevate value
  3. Uncover opportunities to save time and energy: Optimizing processes through process mining and root cause analysis
  4. Perform correlation and causation analysis: Identifying indicators to preempt issues like security threats and fraud
  5. Conduct champion-challenger analysis: Comparing outcomes of business decisions through controlled experiments to drive optimization

Monetizing data in this manner creates tangible outcomes:

Fuel Business Growth

  • Launch innovative products, services, and business models to acquire new customer segments
  • Increase willingness to pay for existing offerings by bundling data-driven insights

Boost Operational Excellence

  • Prevent issues to avoid costs (e.g. cyber threats detected early)
  • Identify process bottlenecks to enable process improvements
  • Empower fact-based decision-making for optimal resource allocation

This directly translates to savings in time, effort, and costs.

Monetizing data has dual benefits: it powers growth by enhancing customer value and improving internal efficiencies.

The road ahead

Digital transformation is no longer an option but an imperative for sustainable growth. While the CTO outlines the strategic narrative, DBAs serve as the infantry that activates data monetization—the fuel for transformation.

As custodians of data assets, DBAs play a pivotal role in:

  • Democratizing data through governance to amplify its value
  • Ensuring security and resilience in the face of intensifying threats
  • Reorienting databases and data states for cloud-centric deployments

The skills that served DBAs well, such as technical mastery, an eye for detail, and data safeguarding, must now be complemented by a visionary, value-focused, and cloud-native mindset.

This evolution of the DBA will be vital for capitalizing on the opportunities from monetizing data to enable greater business growth and prosperity.

Get better value from your data.

Meet with Pythian’s Data Experts, we’ll get you from where you are today to where you need to be.

Get Email Notifications

Comments (1)