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Prioritising business value creation from data

With data at the centre of every application, process, and business decision, nearly every organisation I talk to describes a quest to become more data-driven to discover and act on insights rapidly. They know there is gold to be found within the troves of their data, but—frustratingly—it usually doesn’t materialise in a timely way for their business. One solution they gravitate towards is the creation of the role of Chief Data Officer (CDO), one of the newer executive roles.

Earlier this year, we kicked off research to better understand the role of contemporary CDOs; what makes them successful, what keeps them up at night, and, ultimately, what they perceive their long-term value to be. Today, I’m excited to unveil a brand-new research report based on this study: CDO Agenda 2023: Prioritizing business value creation.

Research Methodology and Demographics

AWS commissioned Tom Davenport and the MIT Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Symposium (CDOIQ) to conduct a global study of CDOs. They looked across industries, at their tenures, and at what stages of the data journey they most impacted. For those not familiar with Tom, he’s a storied academic and author, having written some of my favourite books on analytics, including the 2007 book Competing on Analytics.

To kickstart his work, Tom surveyed over 350 data executives in CDO and similar roles and directly interviewed twenty-five. The report breaks down the demographics of the CDOs, which also yields some interesting insights. Suppose you subscribe to my belief that data literacy and the broad and active use of data across an organisation is about silo-busting. In that case, success requires understanding organisational dynamics and nudging a culture to become more accepting of data. Given nearly a quarter of the surveyed CDOs have been in the role for only a year—half having never done the job before, half having been hired from outside the company, and many not having a seat directly at the executive table—it makes a tough job harder.

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