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New Survey Reveals Growing Business Impact of Data and AI Leaders

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Data is eating the world. Or as Tom Davenport and Randy Bean write in their foreword to a just-published survey, “Data, and the ability to make sense of it, has been one of the biggest drivers of innovation in business and society over the past few decades, and a key driver of economic success in the 21st century.

The 11th Annual Survey of Chief Data Officers (CDOs) and Chief Data and Analytics Officers (CDAOs), conducted by NewVantage Partners, A Wavestone Company, collected data from 116 Fortune 1000 companies and large organizations, with 84.6 % of survey respondents holding the position of Chief Data Title or Chief Data and Analytics Officer. This figure is up 10% from last year’s survey and almost 20% over five years, reflecting the continued growth and adoption of the CDO/CDAO role in organizations and industries. When the survey was first conducted in 2012, only 12% of organizations surveyed had appointed a CDO/CDAO.

Here are some of the key findings:

43.3% of CDOs/CDAOs report to the President/CEO or COO, 55.6% report to a business rather than technology function, and 27.4% still report to the CIO (as most early CDOs did) .

The main mandate of the CDO/CDAO is to develop the corporate data strategy in 48.1% of organizations.

Only 35.5% say the CDO/CDAO role is successful and well established, an 11.6% drop in organizational satisfaction from last year.

For 61.8% of respondents, responsibilities shifted from “defensive” activities, such as compliance and regulatory reporting, to “offensive” activities, including revenue growth, business expansion and acquisition of customers. 69.4% say analytics is now part of the CDO/CDAO mandate.

87.8% reported an increase in data investments in 2022, and 93.9% of organizations plan to increase their data investments in 2023.

Data modernization, i.e. moving data from outdated or siled legacy environments to cloud-based environments, has been identified as the top goal for investing in data and analytics by 40 .7% of organizations. 82% of organizations plan to increase their investments in data modernization in 2023. Investments in data products and AI/ML were also listed as a priority.

Only 23.9% of organizations define themselves as data-driven, and only 20.6% say they have developed a data culture within their organization.

79.8% continue to cite cultural issues such as organizational readiness to change and business transformation, changes to organizational processes, people and skills, organizational alignment and communications as the biggest barriers to realizing the business value of data investments.

Only 23.8% say they are doing enough to ensure responsible and ethical use of data within their organization and industry.

Davenport and Bean conclude: “The survey and our own observations indicate that data consumption has become much more important in recent years and that companies are using analytics and AI to generate value from data. It is clear that data is driving significant amounts of business innovation.”

Indeed, the creation of data, movement, and consumption has become a dominant part of our lives at work and outside of work.

Modern computing has spawned data, the digital product of processing zeros and ones. Originally used to address scientific questions and help with business accounting, the main obstacle to valuing data was speed. Overcoming data latency or “how fast can we get the data?” has become one of the major concerns of executives in charge of “IT” and of the few business leaders who perceived the computer as a business tool.

In the 1970s, a growing number of business leaders began to realize that the growing number of computers in their organizations meant that they now had an army of permanent observers, collecting data 24/7. /7. “How do we make sense of the data? has become the new question for business leaders and a new focus for IT executives, now called Chief Information Officers (yes, for a few decades “information” sounded more prestigious than “ data”).

Companies stopped deleting data, instead storing it for longer periods of time, and started sharing it between different business functions and with their suppliers and customers. I remember a DEC executive speaking around 1990 to a group of insurance industry CIOs, selling them the slogan “one and it’s done!” (along with telling them that a third of them will lose their jobs that year because CIOs’ tenure was notoriously short).

What he meant by that was that customers calling their insurance companies should get all their questions answered, rather than being transferred from a customer service agent who had the data for their automobile police to another who could access their home data. Politics. What he meant by that was that they would have to buy the hardware and software that would allow them to move data from different functions and locations into a centralized database.

The replication and movement of data led to the data explosion and corresponding investments in “data mining” in the 1970s and 1980s. But the 1990s saw the invention of the web and with it the first companies” born digital”, and the expansion of “computing” to anyone in the world with an Internet connection (and after 2007, to anyone with a smartphone).

Living life online from birth meant that new companies not only excelled in hardware and software development (and built their own “clouds”), but also successfully implemented innovations in collection and analysis of the mountains of data produced. by the online activities of millions of individuals and businesses.

With a slew of new, easy-to-use online applications, billions of people around the world could now participate in the creation, movement and consumption of data.

Data has overtaken hardware and software as the center of all things “computing,” a constant presence in consumers’ lives and the lifeblood of technology companies. And as the survey of Data and AI leaders over the past eleven years has demonstrated, the cornerstone of any type of business.

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