What Type of Chief Data Officer Are You?

Take Gartner's CDO self-assessment scorecard to see where you rank.

The chief data officer (CDO) is a new position in most organizations. Despite being new, it is a role that is already evolving based on the needs of various organizations.

Mario Faria, research vice president at Gartner, explained, “CDOs should perform a self-assessment of their current personal leadership style to see how their CDO style compares to what their organization expects.”

To help CDOs assess their own style, Mr. Faria has developed a self-assessment scorecard for CDOs based on their background and approach to leadership (see Figure 1).

Chief digital officer - CDO Personal Leadership Self Assessment. How CDOs use data management controls and manage risk.


Pick the number in each row of Figure 1 that best matches the expectations placed on you as a CDO, and then add up your score at the end. There are four possible types of CDO based on your score:

  • [5-9] Broker and Engineer: The CDO provides services to internal operational business needs using current capabilities. The CDO is very focused on efficiency.
  • [10-15] Enabler and Conductor: Although the CDO is still focused on the needs of internal users, they push for data assets to be used aggressively by business leaders and individual contributors to break through traditional perimeters of business. The CDO aims to drive transformation across the organization.
  • [16-20] Integrator and Optimizer: The CDO delivers operational data services that are used both by internal and external users. The activities are expanded and integrated into a shared-service organization that runs like a business.
  • [21-25] Explorer and Pioneer: The CDO is an innovator, creating new offerings, exploring new ideas and bringing transformation initiatives to internal and external users.

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The different scores and styles do not imply any value judgment or level of organizational maturity. They are simply different ways to carry out the role of the CDO, with different types of CDO style being more suited to different types of organization.

“If your leadership self-assessment is different from what the organization expects from the office of the CDO, you will need to learn and assimilate a new set of skills and knowledge to overcome the challenge. Alternatively, you will need to delegate to other members of your team to bring the characteristics you currently don’t have,” said Mr. Faria.


Gartner clients can read more about how to structure the office of the CDO in the research note: "Successful Organizational Design Principles for the Office of the Chief Data Officer by Mario Faria. There are also guidelines for new CDOs in the article entitled "First 100 Days of a CDO."

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