Top Insights from 50 Chief Data Officers

Scaling AI Claire Carroll

Whether you’re a Chief Data Officer (CDO) yourself, you report to one, your organization has one, or you/your organization is looking to hire one, there is still much to learn about the up-and-coming role. Some estimate that 90 percent of large global organizations will have a CDO by 2019 - but who are they, and what, exactly, do they do?

We surveyed more than 50 CDOs worldwide and across industries to try and answer these very questions - read the full white paper based on the survey to get all the details.

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It won’t come as a surprise that in many ways, global CDOs are all very different - largely depending on the data maturity of their company. For example, their motivations and challenges vary:


Get the full infographic (including all 10 insights from the survey of more than 50 global CDOs) by downloading a free copy of the white paper here

And it’s not just their day-to-day work and worries that depend. Here are some additional controversies facing today's CDO and their role in the organization:

Who Does the CDO Work With?

One thing is clear: if the CDO is working on his or her own and not interacting with pretty much every other C-level as well as different departments or lines of business, things will certainly not go well. Yet even today, some CDOs have a team; yet others find themselves alone, left to fend the data battle solo.

Even CDOs who don’t have a robust team, though, can work very closely with IT. In the past, IT has been the owner (or gatekeeper) of the company’s data, but they aren’t generally owners of the data strategy - that is, how that data should be used. So these two roles or teams are naturally intertwined.

Of course, lines of business are also essential partners for a CDO and his or her team. Being approached with valuable business questions or projects to tackle is absolutely essential to the success of data initiatives. Without these connections, the CDO or the data team risks cold starting on projects without context from the business that might not ultimately have value.

Who Does (or Should) the CDO Report To?

Again, this really depends on the organization. Even leading analysts don’t point to one right way to do things, but in general, it’s probably the CIO or CTO in a digital organization or more technical industry. But in other industries, it could also be the COO, CEO, or even the CFO (after all, you can see from the survey above that the biggest goal of CDOs is increasing revenue, so this can really make sense in some cases).

But this is also shifting with time as the CDO role becomes more defined. In fact, Gartner’s most recent survey found that today, more CDOs are reporting to the CEO than the CIO. This is likely because data strategy is moving away from becoming a side-project or concern and more toward being a central pillar of the future of companies.

Get the Full Scoop

Learn more about the CDOs of today and their future in the latest white paper - download a complimentary copy of Enabling Chief Data Officers, Data Leaders, and the Data Revolution.

learn from more than 50 cross-industry cdos

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