Data Leaders Now More Involved In Digital Transformation Initiatives: Report


Chief data officers (CDOs) are increasingly being asked to take the lead on digital transformation initiatives as digital business itself transforms to business as usual. According to Gartner, 72 per cent of data and analytics leaders with digital initiatives are either leading or heavily involved in their organisation’s digital transformation initiatives.

While only 24 per cent of respondents said they are leading digital transformation efforts, the boundaries between CDOs and chief digital officers are becoming more and more blurred, the report noted.

“The results indicate that more organisations now understand the synergy between building a data-driven business and leading digital transformation,” said Debra Logan, distinguished research vice president at Gartner. “D&A strategy is a business strategy infused with D&A thinking; it has a primary role in digital business strategy, affecting everything the organisation does.”

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While data quality (51 per cent), ROI from D&A investments (44 per cent) and data sharing (43 per cent) are D&A leaders’ top objectives, their role will not be seen as valuable unless they focus on stakeholders’ KPIs.

“It’s not enough to manage data and create insights,” said Logan. “These activities must deliver measurable business outcomes.

“Data sharing is the way to optimise higher quality data and more robust data and analytics to solve business challenges and goals. Data sharing is an important KPI and a business necessity. It accelerates digital business transformation.”

Gartner predicts that by 2023, organisations that promote data sharing will outperform their peers on most business value metrics.

CDOs who have business-facing KPIs and multiple business partners are 1.7 times more likely to be effective at consistently producing clear business value by successfully demonstrating ROI from the D&A investments. They are also 2.3 times more likely to be effective at reducing time to market and 3.5 times more likely to be effective at data monetisation. 

Less successful CDOs are those who failed to show a link between D&A and business value and who are inclined to focus on technology instead of people.

In addition, 93 per cent of CDOs reported that effective communication is critical to the success of their roles. Overall, the most important competencies for D&A leaders are influencing, engagement and effective communication plans. These are leadership – not management – skills. “If the CDO does not exert influence across the organisation by promoting data sharing, engaging stakeholders and training the workforce to become data literate, they will likely not perform well in their role,” said Logan.