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Half of all businesses now have a chief data officer

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20th Aug 2015
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45% of businesses and governments across the globe have now appointed a Chief Data Officer, according to new stats from Forrester.

The analyst house’s survey of 3,000 global business and technology decision-makers found that as well as a sharp increase in the number of CDOs already plying their trade, a further 16% of firms say they are planning to incorporate the role into their hierarchy within the next 12 months.

According to the research, the four key areas of focus CDOs are being appointed for are:

1. Remedial data practices.

2. Governance and building on a “data foundation”.

3. Using data to improve customer insights.

4. Embedding data into the culture of the business.

The variation in CDO appointment across industries is “dramatic”, however, with businesses in sectors that have traditionally collected huge amounts of legacy data appointing in a much faster scale than others. 60% of telecoms now have a CDO, for instance, while 39% of media and entertainment firms have hired someone in the field, and 34% in government.

Forrester’s Gene Leganza says the role will evolve in most businesses to be a bridge between IT and the rest of the business.

And far from becoming a threat to CIOs and the role they continue to play in overseeing technology for their organisations, Laganza believes the CDO role will help remove some of the pressure being placed on IT departments in relation to data management.

"In many cases, CIOs are only too painfully aware that they have too many things on their plates to give the data agenda the attention that it needs,” he states.

“Adding this additional role means CIOs can do a better job executing their own agenda.”

Statistics from Experian last year stated that 92% of CIOs across the UK were “calling out for a CDO role (92%) to release the data pressures they face and enable a corporate wide approach to data management”.

And building the right type of data-driven culture appears to be the biggest challenge. At present, 25% of businesses have a data analysis strategy for their marketing teams, and 23% for sales.

However, of those that do, 61% are attributed to management teams having a direct role in integrating data and analytics tools into business-wide process, according to recent research from BARC.  

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