9 Trends for CDAOs in 2023

Community Blog
Written by Megan Woodruff

APRIL 4, 2023

To stay true to our ‘By CDAOs, For CDAOs’ model, Evanta surveys its communities each year. Through this data, we learn more about the interests, priorities and challenges of the CDAOs we serve.

For 2023, we narrowed the priority topics from 18 to 16, merging some (like artificial intelligence and machine learning) and creating new ones (like trust & reliability in data and measuring impact of D&A initiatives). We’ve also rebranded from Chief Data Officer communities to Chief Data & Analytics Officer communities to be more inclusive of the way top enterprises structure data and analytics functions.

Of the CDAOs we surveyed in North America and EMEA, it’s interesting to see how the priorities vary year-over-year. In collecting responses from the end of Q4 and throughout Q1, we’ve had more than 400 data and analytics leaders share what matters most to them: from their enterprise objectives, to their functional objectives, to their budgets and spend.

Here are a few of the top trends:

  1. Driving growth is still the #1 enterprise objective for CDAOs. We saw this objective first take the top spot last year. Improving the customer experience was the #1 enterprise objective in 2021, the #2 objective in 2022 and is now the #3 objective for CDAOs.
  2. Data & analytics strategy is back as a Top 3 priority. When looking holistically at CDAO survey responses, this is the first time since 2021 D&A Strategy has fallen within the top 3. This priority fell to #6 for CDAOs in 2022. The top goal for this functional priority is improving business outcomes, while the top challenge is split between competing priorities and siloed operating models.
  3. Operating budgets and planned spend have not increased. In 2022, 47% of CDAOs told us their operating budget increased, compared to just 30% this year. In 2023, 34% of CDAOs say their planned tech/service spend has not changed year-over-year. That’s compared to the 50% of CDAOs in 2022, who told us they planned to spend more on technology and services.

Here are a few of the business function objective highlights:

  1. Data & analytics governance, as well as data-driven culture & literacy, remain top priorities. Data and analytics governance has been ranked within the top five business objectives for the last five years. For the last three years, it’s consistently remained as the #1 priority for CDAOs. Data-driven culture has remained a close second for the last three years as well. The top goals for these priorities are improving processes and efficiencies and making data-driven decisions.
  2. Data and analytics leaders rank democratizing data well ahead of data sharing. In 2023, we split the functional priority of Data Sharing, Availability & Democratization into Data Democratization & Self Service and Data Sharing & Integration. CDAOs have ranked Data Democratization & Self-Service as their #4 priority. Data Sharing & Integration is now ranked at #10. The combined priority of Data, Sharing, Availability & Democratization ranked at #3 in 2022. Leaders tell us the #1 challenge to Data Democratization & Self-Service is a siloed operating model.
  3. Advanced analytics capabilities have moved up in the ranking. In 2022, Machine Learning Capabilities and Advanced AI were separate functional priorities, ranking 12 (ML) and 17 (AI) respectively. In 2023, our survey has merged these priorities as AI & ML. This is now the #6 priority for CDAOs, which is on par for the generative AI trends we’ve seen dominating the headlines.

As it relates to investments and budget, CDAOs have less capital to work with this year. A few things we’ve noticed within these priorities:

  1. Data governance is still the #1 area where CDAOs plan to spend. 58% of CDAOs have identified this as their top spending area, with 35% of respondents planning to purchase in the next six months. 34% are planning to spend on governance within 7-12 months.
  2. Fewer data and analytics leaders plan to use their budget for training purposes. In 2022, 37% of CDAOs told us they planned to invest in skills and literacy training within six months. In 2023, only 28% of CDAOs told us they plan to invest in data and analytics upskilling. Of those 28%, the majority are split on when they plan to invest. Thirty-eight percent of respondents plan to invest in upskilling in 0-6 months, while 32% plan to invest in the next 7-12 months.
  3. Data Modeling & Analytics Dashboards is a new spending priority in 2023. Thirty-nine percent of CDAOs surveyed tell us they plan to spend in this area, with 38% planning to spend in the next 6 months. 31% plan to spend in the next 7-12 months.

In 2023, we’ve also added two new questions regarding vendors, as we’re curious to learn the types of partners CDAOs hope to work with and how they go about selecting them.

  • 33% of CDAOs are looking for partners who are established and proven, 22% prefer vendor recommendations from peers and 20% want partners who are new and innovative
  • As it relates to finding new partners, respondents tied peer reviews and Gartner research as the best ways to select a new vendor.

In conclusion, CDAOs are driving value and working to stay ahead of the next trend, like generative AI. They must ensure the workforce speaks data and can use the tools accessible to them, all while governing a data ecosystem that is most likely integrated across desperate sources. To successfully execute on data and analytics initiatives, leaders say it’s imperative to have the right strategy, clean data and the proper culture in place. 

View the complete results from Evanta’s annual Leadership Perspective Survey here, and join your local CDAO community to connect with like-minded peers on these mission critical priorities - apply to join today.

Megan Woodruff headshot

Megan Woodruff

Associate Content Director at Evanta, a Gartner Company

by CDAOs, for CDAOs

Join the conversation with peers in your local CDAO community.