CAOs should have the fortitude to take risks, according to Catamaran's Marks. Of course, the risk-taking should be supported and guided by the data. A/B testing is a great way to explore new ideas without a heavy up-front investment.
"Just like an A/B testing framework allows product teams to get features out the door quickly at low risk and see the impact of those changes quickly, we have the same goal for analytics," says Paddy Hannon, CAO at Edmunds.com, the consumer auto website.
Part of risk-taking means being prepared to "fail fast," says Marks. "You need to be flexible enough to turn and chart a new course based on where you think the best opportunities might exist," she explains.