Among organizations that have created an office around the chief data officer, three primary business objectives stand out as driving forces. They are to: Improve efficiency (cited by 93 percent of CDOs surveyed by Gartner Group as a primary or secondary objective); increase competitive advantage (cited by 89 percent); and create greater customer intimacy (cited by 88 percent).

Other top driving forces cited were: cost optimization (cited by 83 percent); improving risk management (cited by 82 percent); product innovation (cited by 81 percent); and faster time to market (cited by 74 percent).

These numbers are courtesy of the research firm’s recent Second Gartner CDO Survey – The State of the Office of the CDO -- which was compiled by Gartner’s Mario Faria, managing vice president of Gartner Research, and David Newman, leadership partner, Gartner for Enterprise Leaders. The study provides a look at how the office of the CDO will be used in 2017.

Gartner surveyed 180 professionals in the role of chief data officer or chief analytics officer to learn more about their responsibilities, background, and tenure in the role. These professionals most heavily represented the financial services and banking, IT and business services, insurance, healthcare and government sectors, though others were also represented.

Chief data officers were far and away the most heavily represented, at 42 percent. Directors followed, at 19 percent; chief analytics officers at 11 percent; vice president at 9 percent; chief data scientist at 9 percent; head of data management at 6 percent; and chef digital officer at 3 percent.

The study found that the typical chief data officer has been in their role for an average of 2.4 years, while the chief analytics officer tenure is 2.6 years.

Among the factors that led to the creation of the CDO post: The CEO or CFO wanted the role (cited by 41 percent); a data or analytics-related crisis or problem let to its creation (cited by 27 percent); the board of directors wanted the role (cited by 24 percent); another stake holder wanted the role (cited by 19 percent); or it was created as a result of an audit activity (cited by 18 percent).

As to the primary responsibilities of chief data officer and chief analytics officers, the results were very consistent across organizations and what one would typically expect. They included:

  • Oversight of data analytics initiatives (cited by 69 percent)
  • Data governance (cited by 68 percent)
  • Defining analytics strategy for the organization (cited by 64 percent)
  • Ensuring information reliability and value (cited by 64 percent)
  • Managing a team of analysts, researchers and/or technologists with a shared mission (cited by 64 percent)
  • Creating business value from analytical insights (cited by 61 percent)
  • Embedding analytics throughout the organization (cited by 54 percent)

In terms of the primary roles in the office of the CDO, they included:

  • Data quality (cited by 79 percent) Information strategy (cited by 72 percent)
  • Master data management (MDM) (cited by 72 percent)
  • Information governance (cited by 66 percent)
  • Data science (cited by 66 percent)
  • Business analytics (cited by 65 percent)
  • Information architecture (cited by 51 percent)
  • Information stewardship (cited by 47 percent)
  • Algorithm management (cited by 41 percent)
  • Information monetization (cited by 35 percent)
  • Records management (cited by 25 percent)

In terms of who the CDO or CAO reports to, the chief executive officer was the number one choice (at 30 percent). That was followed by the CIO (at 16 percent); a senior vice president or vice president (at 11 percent); the chief operations officer (at 10 percent); the chief financial officer (at 5 percent); and the technology officer (at 5 percent).