Extracting value from data
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Extracting value from data

ANALYTICS: Gartner survey says not enough data and analytics teams effectively provide value to their organisation

Extracting value from data
Chief data analytics officers who prioritise strategy over tactics are the most successful, a Gartner survey has found.

Less than half of data and analytics (D&A) leaders (44%) believe that their team is effective in providing value to their organisation, according to a new survey by Gartner Inc.

To succeed in their role and deliver measurable business results, chief data and analytics officers (CDAOs) must focus on Presence, Persistence and Performance, the research company says.

"Data and analytics 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 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 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 at Gartner. "Top performers 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."


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 among the organisations surveyed was $5.4 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 Ms 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, leaders 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.

Performance tied to 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 Mr 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, chief financial officer and chief information officer as key influencers."

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