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Only 43% of data and analytics teams provide value: Gartner
Wed, 22nd Mar 2023

According to a new Gartner survey, less than half of data and analytics (D&A) leaders (44%) reported that their team effectively provides value to their organisation. As a result, chief data and analytics officers (CDAOs) must focus on presence, persistence and performance to succeed in their role and deliver measurable business results.

“D&A is in the business of driving stakeholder value,” says 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 was conducted online from September through November 2022 among 566 D&A leaders globally.

The survey found that D&A leaders rated themselves as "effective" or "very effective" across 17 executive leadership traits correlated with those reporting high organisational and team performance. For example, 43% of top-performing D&A leaders reported effectiveness in committing time to their professional development, compared with 19% of low performers.

“Successful CDAOs must be elite leaders,” says Alan Duncan, distinguished vice president analyst at Gartner. “Top-performing CDAOs 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%). As a result, the mean reported D&A budget is $5.41 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,” adds 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 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. These include skills and staff shortages; lack of resources and funding to support the programs; cultural challenges to accept change; lack of business stakeholder involvement and support; not enough authority to execute the CDAO responsibilities; and poor data literacy.

To build an effective D&A team, CDAOs must have a robust talent management strategy beyond hiring ready-made talent. This should include education, training and coaching for data-driven culture and data literacy within the core D&A team and the broader business and technology communities.

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% prioritise D&A initiatives based on alignment with strategic goals.

“CDAOs who prioritise strategy over tactics are the most successful,” says 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, CIO and CFO as key influencers.”

Data and analytics leaders can learn more about evaluating their effectiveness using the Gartner CDAO Effectiveness Diagnostic. This exclusive tool allows CDAOs to understand their effectiveness as leaders and discover their strengths and areas for improvement.

Gartner's analysts are providing additional analysis on data and analytics trends at the Gartner Data and Analytics Summits 2023, taking place April 4-6 in Tokyo, May 8-9 in Mumbai, May 22-24 in London and July 31-August 1 in Sydney.