Less than half of data and analytics (D&A) leaders (44%) reported that their team is effective in providing value to their organisation, according to a new Gartner survey. Chief data and analytics officers (CDAOs) must focus on presence, persistence and performance to succeed in their role and deliver measurable business results.
“D&A is in the business of driving stakeholder value,” said Donna Medeiros, Senior Director Analyst, at Gartner. “The most successful CDAOs are outperforming their peers by projecting an executive presence and building an agile and strategic D&A function that shapes data-driven business performance and operational excellence.”
The survey was conducted online from September through November 2022 among 566 D&A leaders globally.
Successful CDAOs Project Executive Presence
The survey found that D&A leaders who rated themselves as “effective” or “very effective” across 17 different executive leadership traits correlated with those reporting high organisational and team performance. For example, 43% of top-performing D&A leaders reported effectiveness in committing time to their own professional development, compared with 19% of low performers.
“Successful CDAOs must be elite leaders,” said Alan Duncan, Distinguished VP Analyst, Gartner. “Top-performing CDAOs invest in their success by developing skills to thrive in ambiguous circumstances, articulate compelling value stories and identify D&A products and services that can drive business impact.”
CDAOs Must Be Persistent to Meet New Demands
The survey found that CDAOs are tasked with a broad range of responsibilities, including defining and implementing D&A strategy (60%), oversight of D&A strategy (59%), creating and implementing D&A governance (55%) and managing data-driven culture change (54%).
Furthermore, many D&A functions are receiving increased investment, including data management (65%), data governance (63%) and advanced analytics (60%). The mean reported D&A budget is $5.41 million, and 44% of D&A teams increased in size in the last year.
“The demands being placed upon D&A, as well as increased investment, reflect a growing confidence in CDAOs’ abilities and recognition of the data office as an indispensable business function,” said Medeiros. “However, this leads to more work as pressure grows for D&A to achieve tangible business results.”
Given the scope and complexity of demands being placed on D&A teams, the lack of available talent has quickly become a top impediment to D&A success, as reported by 39% of respondents. The top six roadblocks to D&A reported in the survey are all human-related challenges.
To build an effective D&A team, CDAOs must have a robust talent management strategy that goes beyond hiring ready-made talent. This should include education, training and coaching for data-driven culture and data literacy, both within the core D&A team and the broader business and technology communities.
D&A Performance Must Tie to Business Strategy
The survey found that 78% of respondents rank corporate or organisational strategy and vision as one of the top three inputs to the D&A strategy. Additionally, 68% are prioritising D&A initiatives based on alignment to strategic goals.
“CDAOs who prioritise strategy over tactics are the most successful,” said Duncan. “Because the CDAO serves multiple stakeholders across the business, they must align with organisational strategic priorities and focus on selling the D&A vision to the CEO, CIO and CFO as key influencers.”