Despite high demand for data leadership, CDO roles need improvement

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At a time when data-driven companies consistently outperform their peers, strong data leadership can make the difference between success and failure. In fact, Chief Data Officers are now a permanent fixture in 65% of companies — a remarkable improvement on the 12% of companies where CDOs had a home in 2012, according to research by Exasol.

Above: According to Collibra and Forrester Consulting, there are clear revenue benefits from going data-driven. But Exasol’s research finds CDOs are frustrated by C-suites blocking the change required.

The survey uncovered high demand for strong data leadership, as well as some confusion and uncertainty about the CDO role. According to the study, roughly half (50%) of CDOs believe the value of their role is not yet recognized in the business world, while a similar number (46%) say that organizations’ expectations for the CDO role are too high and are misinformed. Its findings also supports previous research revealing that the average CDO tenure is shorter than most, finding that one in five (17%) of the CDOs surveyed had only stayed in their previous role for between one and two years, a nod to the high demand for these professionals.

Overall, 64% agreed that the career path to CDO isn’t obvious. When it comes to nurturing data professionals in their journey to CDO, the report uncovered an opportunity for non-technical professionals to assume the role. Of those surveyed, only 3% were from arts/creative background but 59% agreed there was value in hiring applicants with more diverse backgrounds.

Since data centric companies are 58% more likely to exceed revenue goal, there has never been a more exciting time or opportunity to support data experts, nurture data talent and expand our horizons in the search for data leaders of the future.

To better understand the CDO journey, Exasol surveyed 250 active CDOs from across the UK, the US and Germany to uncover the education, skill sets and the experiences that have helped current CDOs get to where they are today, the challenges and barriers they’ve faced along the way and what needs to change in order to support and promote more skilled people into the role of CDO.

Read the full report by Exasol.


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