Data and Analytics Leadership Needs AI

Squark advisor Dr Tom Davenport wrote the forward about some new research from New Vantage Partners, which has been surveying analytics teams since 2012.  As Dr Davenport says “Data, and the ability to make sense of it, has been one of the greatest drivers of innovation in both business and society in recent decades, and a primary driver of economic success in the 21st century.” This change has taken place very quickly and has resulted in some amazing results – and for some companies it is still hard to compete on analytics. Here are some highlights:

  • 87.8% reported increases in data investments during 2022, and 93.9% of organizations are planning to increase their investments in data in 2023.
  • 43.3% of CDO/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 primary mandate of the CDO/CDAO is to develop the corporate data strategy at 48.1% of organizations.
  • Only 35.5% say that the CDO/CDAO role is successful and well-established, a 11.6% decline in organizational satisfaction from last year.
  • For 61.8% of respondents, responsibilities have shifted from “defensive” activities, such as compliance and regulatory reporting, to “offensive,” including revenue growth, business expansion, and customer acquisition. 69.4% report that analytics is now part of the CDO/CDAO mandate.

How do we weave an AI story into this data?  First, we see more than 40% of data executives report into the business.  This is a no brainer to us – business is profit, IT is cost. Analytics isn’t about SQL and data in tables, it’s about driving the business profitably forward. Yet 60% of execs are still in IT?  Analytics is business function supported by IT.  Analysis is what is done with the data to drive the business; it is not loading tables and creating data.

Corporate data strategy in more than half the cases is owned by another team.  What again do analytics leaders do if they don’t set data strategy?  They serve data strategy of others? Who then? In practicality, this fact is obtuse.  Bifurcating analytics strategy and execution may look compelling on paper, but in reality it often fails to serve the business.

This is part of the reason why almost two-thirds say that the CDO/CDAO role is NOT successful and NOT well-established. A YoY 11.6% decline in satisfaction from 2022.  Analytics leaders clearly have some issues.  Those who serve only IT and don’t set strategy aren’t going help you compete on analytics – and this data around analytics satisfaction hints at some real problems that are pacing.  Enter Squark, we give the business the power of AI, ensure IT is heard, and bring together AI across functional and strategic teams.

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