The Rise of the Chief Data Officer Signals an Age of Infinite Possibilities

The Rise of the Chief Data Officer Signals an Age of Infinite Possibilities

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At the end of last year, Gartner estimated that 25 percent of large global organizations had already hired a chief data officer (CDO). By 2019, Gartner expects that number to reach 90 percent. "This rapid shift is the tip of the iceberg," said Ted Friedman, research vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, and summit chair for the Gartner Data & Analytics Summits.

It represents a much deeper change occurring throughout most organizations. Practitioners of distinctive data and analytics disciplines will need to broaden their understanding, and work more closely with others to realize the benefits of using data and analytics to capture transformative business opportunities and mitigate risks. As a result, the Gartner events portfolio has changed to reflect the importance of working across disciplines. The new Data & Analytics Summits have combined two previous events, the Business Intelligence & Analytics Summits and the Enterprise Information & Master Data Management Summits, into one.

The decision to move to a single event reflects a convergence of roles and interests around the area of data and analytics. We find that organizations are increasingly creating a single data and analytics team with a new leadership role, as the rise of the CDO demonstrates. As silos are broken down, and professionals in this area work in cross-functional teams more than ever, it was clear that coverage of both data and analytics in one place was needed.

The journey toward digital business is, at its core, a drive to better collect, manage and exploit data assets and apply analytics for richer insights. By 2018, Gartner predicts that over half of large organizations will compete using advanced analytics and proprietary algorithms, disrupting entire industries. This, in turn, is being driven by the proliferation of devices, connected "things," connectivity and computing power, all of which creates more opportunities to collect data, analyze it, and potentially monetize it.

"For the 2017 Summits, we've chosen the theme "Lead in the Age of Infinite Possibilities" because that's the nature of the current business and technology environment: Unbounded information. Limitless connections between enterprises, people and things. Pervasive technology capabilities," said Friedman.

The opportunities to generate business value from data and analytics are practically infinite. The challenge is how to harness this rapidly expanding landscape, how to target the right opportunities, despite internal constraints such as budgets, governance mandates, skills and culture, and external forces like competition, market dynamics and regulatory and social pressures.

The modern data and analytics leaderhas an unprecedented chance to transform the organization on its journey into the world of digital business, and the course of action is clear: Craft a strategy to overcome the data science skills gap, modernize data infrastructure andanalytic platforms, govern and take advantage of diverse information sources, and spearhead data and analytic projects that have high-value payback.

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