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STAMFORD, Conn. May 5, 2021

Gartner Survey Finds 72% of Data & Analytics Leaders Are Leading or Heavily Involved in Digital Transformation Initiatives

Analysts Discuss CDO Leadership Trends at the Virtual Gartner Data & Analytics Summit Americas, May 4-6

Seventy-two percent of data and analytics (D&A) leaders with digital initiatives are either leading or heavily involved in their organization’s digital transformation initiatives, according to Gartner, Inc.’s sixth annual Chief Data Officer (CDO) survey*.

“The results indicate that more organizations now understand the synergy between building a data-driven business and leading digital transformation,” said Debra Logan, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “D&A strategy is a business strategy infused with D&A thinking; it has a primary role in digital business strategy, affecting everything the organization does.”

Gartner analysts presented these findings during the Gartner Data & Analytics Summit 2021, which is taking place virtually in the Americas through Thursday.

While only 24% of respondents said they are leading digital transformation efforts, the boundaries between CDOs and chief digital officers are becoming more and more blurred. CDOs are increasingly being asked to take on more strategic objectives and lead digital transformation initiatives as digital business itself transforms to business as usual (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Percentage of Data & Analytics Leaders Involved in Digital Transformation Initiatives

Source: Gartner (May 2021)

Prioritize Business-Facing KPIs to Enhance Influence and Impact

While data quality (51%), ROI from D&A investments (44%) and data sharing (43%) are D&A leaders’ top objectives, their role will not be seen as valuable unless they focus on stakeholders’ KPIs.

“It’s not enough to manage data and create insights,” said Ms. Logan. “These activities must deliver measurable business outcomes.

“Data sharing is the way to optimize higher quality data and more robust data and analytics to solve business challenges and goals,” said Ms. Logan. “Data sharing is an important KPI and a business necessity. It accelerates digital business transformation.”

Gartner predicts that by 2023, organizations that promote data sharing will outperform their peers on most business value metrics.

Successful CDOs Translate Data Into Business Results

CDOs who have business-facing KPIs and multiple business partners are 1.7 times more likely to be effective at consistently producing clear business value by successfully demonstrating ROI from the D&A investments. They are also 2.3 times more likely to be effective at reducing time to market and 3.5 times more likely to be effective at data monetization. 

Less successful CDOs are those who failed to show a link between D&A and business value and who are inclined to focus on technology instead of people.

In addition, 93% of CDOs reported that effective communication is critical to the success of their roles. Overall, the most important competencies for D&A leaders are influencing, engagement and effective communication plans. These are leadership – not management – skills. “If the CDO does not exert influence across the organization by promoting data sharing, engaging stakeholders and training the workforce to become data literate, they will likely not perform well in their role,” said Ms. Logan.

*Note for Editors:

The sixth annual Gartner Chief Data Officer survey was conducted from September through November 2020 with 469 CDOs, chief analytics officers and other high-level data and analytics leaders from across the world. They represented 16 named industry segments in companies ranging from less than $10 million to over $10 billion, with 61% having over $1 billion in revenue.

Gartner clients can read more in “CDO Agenda 2021: Influence and Impact of Successful CDOs in the Sixth Annual CDO Survey.” Learn how to use data & analytics to re-engineer decision making in the free Gartner e-book “The Future of Decisions.”

About the Gartner Data & Analytics Summit

The Gartner Data & Analytics Summit explores how to tie data and analytics strategy to business outcomes and promote the adoption of technologies like artificial intelligence. The Summit is currently taking place virtually in the Americas and will take place May 18-20 in EMEA, June 8-9 in APAC, June 23-24 in India, and July 12-13 in Japan. Follow news and updates from the conferences on Twitter using #GartnerDA.

About the Gartner Information Technology Practice

The Gartner IT practice provides CIOs and IT leaders with the insights and tools to drive the organization through digital transformation to lead business growth. Additional information is available at https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology. Follow news and updates from the Gartner IT practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerIT.

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To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit gartner.com.