Early adopters of the chief data officer (CDO) role and the office of the CDO (OCDO) are pioneering a new organizational function, to go alongside IT, business operations, human resources and finance, according to a report by Gartner Inc.

The study said organizations that have made the strategic decision to introduce the CDO role are looking to get as much new value as possible from the position. Thirty percent of the 180 CDOs, chief analytics officers and other high-level data and analytics leaders the firm surveyed worldwide in July and August 2016 said they report directly to the CEO in their organizations.

CDOs are adding to the competitiveness of their organizations by contributing to strategic planning and decision making, and by leading digital business initiatives, the report noted. As a result, Gartner predicts that by 2020 15% of successful CDOs will move into CEO, COO, CMO or other C-level positions.

"The office of the CDO is being established as an operational department with the appropriate staffing, budget and responsibilities," said Debra Logan, vice president and Gartner Fellow. "Fifty-four percent of the organizations we surveyed said that their OCDO was fully or partially implemented, with a further 20% already exploring, planning to explore or planning to implement an OCDO within the next year. Only 19% said they are unlikely to implement an ODCO."

According to the survey, the main business objectives of the OCDO are to increase customer intimacy (62%), competitive advantage (60%) and efficiency (54%).

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