Gartner says the emergence of CDOs in many organisations and across industries shows a growing recognition of information as a strategic business asset — one distinguished from the technology through which it flows.
Increasingly, information is accumulated, managed, accounted for and deployed just as traditional balance sheet assets, notes Gartner, in its Predicts 2016: Information Strategy report.
Gartner points out that information is so central to an organisation's success and linked with business strategy. Thus, it warrants its own strategy to ensure its economic benefits are maximised in multiple ways.
Even IT organisations are beginning to split into autonomous "I" and "T" units in both major businesses and government agencies, says Gartner.
CDOs need to work tirelessly on building trust with various business stakeholders, especially the CIO
Garter says some of the steps information leaders can take in the next year is to establish an information product management team to professionalise and focus the capability for directly monetising data.
The same report also zeroes in on how the emergence of the CDO role will impact the executive team.
Gartner estimates that towards the end of this year, there were about 1,000 CDOs/chief analytics officers in the world, up from 400 in 2014.
Gartner says it expects this number to grow so that by 2019, 90 per cent of large companies will have CDOs.
The role and its functions are new in most organisations so majority of these data leaders are “learning on the job”.
Their initial task, however, is to create an information strategy that improves business outcomes.
Gartner notes that the CDO position is a difficult one, politically, and many of those newly appointed to the role are meeting change resistance from different quarters.
“CDOs report that much of this resistance is coming from the IT department, particularly over the control of information assets and their governance,” Gartner notes.
Thus, part of the CDO’s role is to educate senior leaders and peers about the role data and information play in overall business success.
CDOs need to “work tirelessly on building trust with various business stakeholders, especially the CIO”, reports Gartner.
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