The majority of large companies – 90% – will have a chief data officer (CDO) role by the end of 2019, predicts Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company based in Stamford, Conn.
The race to drive competitive advantage and improved efficiency through better use of information assets is leading to a sharp rise in the number of CDOs, Gartner said in a press release on Tuesday. However, CDOs “will face a number of challenges, to the extent that only 50% will be successful by the end of 2019,” the company suggested.
For example, one challenge is that the role will be new in most organizations and most new CDOs will be learning on the job. They will have the difficult task of creating an information strategy with relevant metrics that tie the activities of their team to measurable business outcomes.
“With the explosion of datasets everywhere, an important task is determining which information can add business value, drive efficiency or improve risk management,” said Mario Faria, research vice president at Gartner, in the release. “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.”
The confluence of high expectations and limited knowledge around information management by business users can make it difficult for CDOs to get the budget and commitment from the business they need to make their plans a success. Furthermore, “many CDOs already report high levels of change resistance, particularly from the IT department, over the control of information assets and their governance,” Gartner added. Successful CDOs, however, work with the chief information officer (CIO) to “lead change and overcome resistance.”
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 monetization from which progress can be measured;
• Tie quantifiable information metrics to quantifiable business key performance indicators to demonstrate tangible success; and
• Adopt formal information asset measures and share them with the organization.
“Business leaders are starting to grasp the huge potential of digital business, and demanding a better return on their organizations’ information assets and use of analytics,” concluded Faria. “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.”