Data and analytics chiefs ‘have 2 years to save jobs’

more data 2Three-fifths of organisations are being forced to rethink their data and analytics operating model because of the impact of disruptive artificial intelligence technologies, but data chiefs who fail to adapt have just two years before their roles are wiped out.

So says the annual Gartner Chief Data & Analytics Officer (CDAO) survey, which quizzed among 479 chief data and analytics officers, chief data officers and chief analytics officers (CAO) across the world.

When asked about changes CDAOs need to make to their D&A operating model to be fit for current and future purpose, 38% osaid that their D&A architecture will be overhauled over the next 12-18 months. Some 29% said they will revamp how they manage data assets and adopt and apply governance policies, practices and standards.

Gartner VP analyst Alan Duncan said: “While the management of their organisation’s D&A operating model is increasing year over year, no other role than the CDAO has the responsibility of many of the key enablers of AI, which include data governance, D&A ethics, and data and AI literacy.

“The scope of responsibilities of the CDAO role has also expanded as budget and resource constraints become even more of a problem.”

Among the CDAO’s key responsibilities are managing the D&A strategy (74%) and D&A governance (68%). Being accountable for AI is also high on the CDAO’s agenda. The survey found that 49% of CDAOs said generative AI is within their scope of primary responsibilities. AI is within scope for nearly three-fifths (58%) of CDAOs, up from a third (34%) in 2023.

The expansion of responsibilities entails a significant cost for CDAOs, but for those who report a year-over-year increase in their function’s funding, nearly half (46%) still report budget constraint as a challenge.

Duncan said: “CDAOs who present better business cases to CFOs, receive better and quicker funding for their D&A initiatives. They also gain higher executive buy-in.

“However, only 49% of surveyed CDAOs have established business outcome-driven metrics that allow stakeholders to track D&A value. In addition, 34% have not established business outcome metrics for D&A.

CDAOs need to build their power and influence to make things happen. They also must understand the value levers and pain points of the organization end to end to showcase their value to the board, the report states.

If not, Duncan warns that within two years three-quarters of CDAOs who fail to make organisationwide influence and measurable impact their top priority, will be assimilated into technology functions.

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