90% of large organisations will have a Chief Data Officer by 2019

By Jess Shanahan

In 2014 there were just 400 Chief Data Officers (CDOs) in large organisations, this rose to 1,000 in 2015. Gartner – the world’s leading information and technology advisor – predicts that the increased use of data assets will lead to a huge rise in CDO roles by 2019.

Mario Faria, Research Vice President at Gartner, said: “Business leaders are starting to grasp the huge potential of digital business, and demanding a better return on their organisations' information assets and use of analytics. It's a logical step to create an executive position — the CDO — to handle the many opportunities and responsibilities that arise from industrial-scale collection and harnessing of data."

Because CDOs will be learning on the job, Gartner expects that only 50% will be successful. They face the difficult task of implementing an information strategy with relevant metrics that tie to what other parts of the business are trying to achieve.

Faria said: “With the explosion of datasets everywhere, an important task is determining which information can add business value, drive efficiency or improve risk management. The CDO's role will raise expectations of better results from an enterprise information management strategy, with stakeholders wanting a clear idea of the exact mechanics of making success a reality."

Many CDOs already report a high level of resistance to the changes they are trying to implement, particularly from IT departments.

Gartner has six recommendations for new CDOs to help them overcome common challenges:

  • Create an enterprise information management strategy based on the organization's business strategy and predominant value discipline.
  • Work tirelessly to build trust with various business stakeholders, especially the CIO.
  • Educate senior leaders and peers about the role that data and information play in overall business success.
  • Establish baselines on information governance and data monetisation from which progress can be measured.
  • Tie quantifiable information metrics to quantifiable business key performance indicators to demonstrate tangible success.
  • Adopt formal information asset measures and share them with the organisation.

CDOs should attend the dedicated CDO programme at the Gartner Enterprise Information & Master Data Management Summits 2016 taking place in London, UK on 2-3 March. Find out more here.

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