3 Tips from CDAOs on Leading Data & Analytics Success

Comunity Blog
Written by Amanda Baldwin

FEBRUARY 28, 2023

Chief Data and Analytics Officers (CDAOs) have added change management to their list of responsibilities, with the expectation to drive both digital and cultural transformation at their organizations. Providing data enablement capabilities has its own set of challenges, but overhauling the digital foundation of the business and changing mindsets along the way can be overwhelming, especially as data grows exponentially and turnover is at an all time high.

In 2019, Gartner Research shared a staggering statistic that only 50% of CDAOs were deemed successful, but those in this role shouldn’t let it decide their fate. Recently, dozens of CDAO Governing Body Members shared their advice on how to be productive and effective data and analytics leaders, and three key themes stood out:

  1. Build relationships with the business
  2. Focus on driving value
  3. Keep learning and building a community of peers

Here are a few of their responses:

  1. Build Relationships with the Business

CDAOs cannot be successful without buy-in from stakeholders across the business, and internal resistance is a common challenge that many CDAOs face. 

Prioritize connecting and building relationships with your peers and their teams. Stay humble, ask lots of questions, and always be consistent.”

André M. Vargas, Chief Data Officer, CAA
Co-Chair of the Southern California CDAO Community

Focus on quick wins to build trust as you develop a suite of solid foundational capabilities.”

Daniel Reaume, Chief Analytics Director, Caterpillar Inc.
Governing Body Member of the Chicago CDAO Community

If you are new in the role, you need to meet the organization where they are and remember data is a change journey.”

Kyle Benning, Director of Information Management (CDAO), Perdue Farms
Governing Body Member of the Washington, DC CDAO Community

  1. Focus on Providing Value

CDAOs have been elevated in the C-suite due to the value that they bring, and many are now either reporting to or collaborating with the CEO on digital transformation and initiatives that enhance data-driven decision making.

Think of yourself as a business leader, not as a data leader. We are not here to ‘do data’; our role is to enable business outcomes through the effective use of data and analytics.”

Olga Sudvarg, Chief Operating Officer (Data), Invesco
Governing Body Member of the Atlanta CDAO Community

Focus on driving value through data and analytics - value for shareholders, customers and employees. All should feel the power of data.”

Manish Dasaur, Chief Data & Analytics Officer - Comms & Media NA, Accenture
Governing Body Member of the Southern California CDAO Community

Three pieces of advice: 1. Focus on generating and proving value from day one. 2. Double down on the concept of data as a product, to make it scale. 3. Ensure a healthy mix of products. This mix should include products used by humans, and thus require data literacy (which takes time to build), as well as products that fully automate decision processes with models, and are merely supervised by humans.”

Sebastian Klapdor, EVP, Chief Data Officer, Vista
Governing Body Member of the DACH CDAO Community

  1. Keep Learning and Build a Community of Peers

The digital world is ever evolving, and CDAOs must be on a journey of continuous learning to be successful. Building a community of peers is a part of this journey, as it allows CDAOs to both inquire about and share their challenges and lessons learned.

Keep learning. Our roles are part of a shifting landscape. They change before we figure them out.”

Deep Ratna Srivastav, SVP, Head of Digital Investment Solutions, Franklin Templeton
Governing Body Member of the San Francisco CDAO Community

Learn, experiment and don’t be afraid of failure. Some issues that you are grappling with are issues the rest of us are grappling with, as well. So talk to your fellow CDAOs, and together we can find solutions.”

Kapil Narang, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Ameriprise Bank
Co-Chair of the Minneapolis CDAO Community

Be curious and ask ‘why’. Knowing ‘why’ something is being done a certain way is as important as understanding ‘what’ is being done."

Anurag Minocha, Head of Regulatory and M&A Data Strategy, Webster Bank
Governing Body Member of the New York CDAO Community

Join a data community. Data leaders are a great bunch who enjoy collaborating and sharing. Start with the business questions and work back to the data from there.”

Brad Currin, Chief Data Officer, Shell
Governing Body Member of the UK & Ireland CDAO Community

Learn from Your CDAO Peers

The Evanta CDAO Community comes together across the world on a regular basis to discuss how to overcome common obstacles and help one another power innovation and productivity at their organizations. Apply to join your local Evanta CDAO Community, and take a look at the calendar to see when your CDAO community is gathering next.

Amanda Baldwin headshot

Amanda Baldwin

Content Marketing Manager at Evanta, a Gartner Company

by CDAOs, for CDAOs

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