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Gartner advises CDOs on how to overcome resistance from IT

Gartner estimates that 90% of large organisations globally will have chief data officers by 2019. It advises a canny political game

Gartner is advising the new breed of chief data officer (CDO) to build political alliances of trust to overcome the high levels of resistance they get from the IT department.

Many CDOs, said the analyst firm, are fighting a war with corporate IT over the control of information assets and their governance.

The firm predicted that 90% of organisations will have a chief data officer by 2019, and estimated 1,000 CDOs this year.

“Business leaders are starting to grasp the huge potential of digital business, and demanding a better return on their organisations’ information assets and use of analytics,” said Gartner research vice-president Mario Faria. “It’s a logical step to create an executive position – the CDO – to handle the many opportunities and responsibilities that arise from industrial-scale collection and harnessing of data.

“The CDO’s role will raise expectations of better results from an enterprise information management strategy, with stakeholders wanting a clear idea of the exact mechanics of making success a reality.”

The firm is pessimistic about the CDO’s chances, estimating that only half will meet with success by the end of 2019.

CDOs will struggle to get the budget and commitment from the business they need to make their plans a success. “This raises a political aspect to the role – building trust and relationships in the organisation will be important to achieving success,” said Faria.

Gartner is advising CDOs to “work tirelessly to build trust with various business stakeholders, especially the CIO”.

Read more about chief data officers

  • Four CDOs describe their first 90 days, their primary objectives and their biggest mistakes
  • What is a chief data officer?
  • Will the CDO outdo the CIO?

CDOs should also educate senior colleagues about the role that data and information play in overall business success, and “establish baselines on information governance and data monetisation from which progress can be measured”.

Gartner is offering advice for what a successful CDO should do in their first 100 days.

In a report on Computer Weekly’s sister US site SearchBusinessAnalytics, John Bottega, former CDO at Bank of America, was quoted saying the CIO and CDO roles should be seen as complementary – the CDO should be responsible for data strategies that bring business benefit, while the CIO manages technology.

In an echo of the Gartner counsel, he said the CDO needs to be a collaborative leader who can steer a political path in the upper reaches of an organisation.

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