Chief Data Officers Execute on a Vision for Change

November 10, 2016

Contributor: Kasey Panetta

The 2016 Chief Data Officer survey reveals CDOs drive digital business transformation.

As the popularity of Chief Data Officer (CDO) roles increases and the Office of the CDO (OCDO) expands, companies can use this new department to drive new solutions and revenue generation.

"The office of the CDO is being established as an operational department with the appropriate staffing, budget and responsibilities," said Debra Logan, vice president and Gartner Fellow at Symposium/ITxpo in Barcelona, Spain.

"Fifty-four percent of the organizations we surveyed said that their OCDO was fully or partially implemented, with a further 20% already exploring, planning to explore or planning to implement an OCDO within the next year. Only 19% said they are unlikely to implement an OCDO."\

CDO responsibilities & maturity

The OCDO is charged with several main business objectives: increase customer intimacy, competitive advantage, and efficiency. As far as the business is concerned, the OCDO is responsible for analytics initiatives and data governance, as well as defining the analytic strategy for the organization and ensuring that information is reliable and valuable.

The CDO is a new position and therefore immature by definition. Mature organizations were more likely to be early adopters, but 62% of respondents classified the maturity of the office of the CDO as functioning or above. These early adopters tend to be mature organizations committed to using data and analytics for strategic advantage.

“Organizations that have a strong competency in building new data and analytics capability will be able to achieve high levels of maturity in their office of the CDO,” said Ms. Logan. “The new office of the CDO business function is likely to be the one that has risen out of the ashes of failed or poorly launched data and analytics initiatives.”

Enterprise “change agents”

Companies who are investing in this office are looking to use CDOs to drive opportunities and increase involvement in the business.   With that in mind, 39% of CDOs said they regularly participate in executive committee meetings, 46% are involved in revenue generation and 71% are involved in new initiatives.

This allows CDOs to contribute to the competitiveness of the enterprise.   Gartner believes that involvement in the revenue generation will only continue to increase. By 2021, successful CDOs will spend more than 80% of their time on driving new solutions and 80% of CDOs will have value creation/revenue generation as their No. 1 priority. The CDO believes that 70% of peers, superiors, and reports see the OCDO as a “change agent” and a majority believe superiors and reports see the office as successful.

An ally to the CIO

CDOs have also been building relationships within the enterprise. Seventy percent have some responsibility within the OCDO to partner with the chief risk officer to ensure ethical use of data and analytics. As for technology, 62% of respondents perceived the CIO as either an ally or partner and 44% report working regularly with the CIO with no challenges. However, for the 56% that reported challenges, the top issues were: unbalanced power structure, project funding and staffing, and not being involved in decision making.

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