Analyst Answers: The Biggest Challenges for Data & Analytics Leaders Today

Leaders must learn how to scale the value of data and analytics and sort through the hype to provide tangible business outcomes.

Data and analytics is a rapidly changing part of almost every industry. Ahead of the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit 2018, Smarter With Gartner reached out to analysts presenting  at the event to ask them what D&A experts will face in the next year.


Organizations are challenged by how to scale the value of data and analytics across the business. Data and analytics is at the heart of digital transformation. It has become core to how companies deliver value to customers. For many companies, data has become core to the product itself. Companies will either lead their industry’s digital transformation business or have to implement someone else’s — if they are still in business.

Design your data and analytics organization and strategy to enable key business initiatives around digital transformation. Consider new leadership roles, such as the CDO, who is responsible for maximizing the value of your data assets and aligning the use of those assets with your business. The right skills and talent will be your competitive advantage.

Turn complexity into an advantage. Modernize your existing infrastructure while leveraging new innovative and disruptive technologies (e.g., AI, IoT, blockchain) to drive competitive advantage. Embrace diversity as a source for innovation — diversity of data and sources for new insights, diversity of skills and talent to drive innovation and improve decision making.

Build a culture of data enablement that can scale the value and make data and analytics core to the business, pervasive across the enterprise and beyond for maximum business impact. This means making sure every person in the enterprise is data-literate and values fact-based decisions. It means extending the reach of your data and analytics beyond the borders of your enterprise to engage customers and your broader ecosystem.

Make the impact of advanced analytics pervasive by augmenting the capabilities of every person in the enterprise with AI-/ML-driven insights, embedded in the applications in which they live and work.

2021 Top Priorities for Data and Analytics Leaders

Emerging trends, expected challenges and next steps for data and analytics leaders in 2021

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Gartner Analyst Grank Buytendijk

Business and society are full of conflicting requirements. The keywords for the years to come are “ambiguity” and “duality.” Data and analytics professionals are trained to think in terms of optimization and clarity. As a result, they need to reinvent themselves and master new skills.Gartner Analyst Cindy Howson

Most data and analytic leaders have many new tools and technologies in place, but they are not evolving the skills and operating models required to meet today’s competitive and fast-paced business. Self-service analytics sounds empowering, but without the right skills distributed across the business and outside of IT, self-service can simply be overwhelming and lead to chaos. In addition, data that can yield new insights has exploded, but organizations are barely good at mining even transactional ERP data.

Gartner analyst Alexander linden

Since 2010, we have witnessed an endless stream of buzzwords, new technologies and new vendors raining down on our clients. Business dynamics are still changing rapidly. All of this makes it very hard for decision makers to have sufficient confidence that their decisions of today will still make sense in two years..


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