CDAOs’ Perspectives on the State of the Economy

Comunity Blog
Written by Megan Woodruff

DECEMBER 5, 2022

The economic news can be all over the place these days with much emphasis on inflation and other concerning factors. As business leaders, we wondered how this was impacting C-level executives overall and Chief Data Officers, in particular. In a recent community pulse survey, we asked C-level executives for their views on the economy and how they were planning for 2023 given the current state of the economy. 

Overall, CDAOs seem slightly more pessimistic about the economic outlook than some of their C-suite peers in other roles. Despite their concerns, data and analytics leaders are focused on business growth and innovation and predict the economy will recover in one to two years.

Here, we take a look at 5 survey highlights from CDAOs across Evanta communities. 

1. Inflation is impacting CDAOs, but it’s not holding business back.

When asked about current economic indicators impacting their businesses, 81% of CDAOs cited inflation. The next three top factors were expectations about an economic downturn, cited by 63% of respondents and 61% highlighted both supply chain issues and global events, such as the pandemic or the war in Ukraine. 

Interestingly, CDAOs cited inflation at a somewhat higher rate than other roles in the C-suite, but perhaps they are concerned overall with uncertainty and constantly changing circumstances. One CDAO commented when asked about what they are focused on for 2023: “Managing the challenges of uncertainty in a fast-moving world.”

Despite some economic headwinds, 55% of CDAOs characterize their organization as “in growth mode.” Only 5% say that business is declining and 40% report business is not growing, but it is steady.

2. CDAOs are primarily investing in growth and remaining steady in other areas.

When we asked data leaders how the economy may impact their planned investments for 2023, 48% report they are planning to increase their spending in the area of business growth and innovation. 

In other areas of investment, CDAOs are planning to keep their spending the same. Most CDAOs cited “stay the same” for investments in vendor or supplier relationships (64%) and product or service expansion (52%).



3. Data & analytics leaders think they will face pressure to reduce spending.


While CDAOs plan to keep investments the same in most areas next year, 61% report feeling some pressure to reduce costs and spending now – and even more (74%) anticipate that pressure next year. 

CDAOs express concerns about continuing to drive their initiatives forward while facing some budget pressure. When asked what is top of mind as a business leader heading into 2023, one CDAO commented, “How we balance priorities and our ability to deliver them alongside increased pressure on budgets and the continued rise in wages, specifically in the data area.” Another data leader said their top concern was “trying to avoid making rash short-term decisions that impact our longer-term strategies.”

4. CDAOs are neutral on the outlook for the economy.

Breaking a more positive trend among the other C-suite roles, CDAOs are neutral on their economic sentiment for 2023, with 40% of respondents reporting an outlook that is neither positive nor negative. About 31% are somewhat negative or very negative about it, and 29% of data leaders say they are feeling somewhat positive or very positive.

In addition, 48% of respondents predict the economy will recover in 1-2 years and another 23% think it will take two years or more to recover.

5. Top-of-mind issues for CDAOs heading into 2023

We asked CDAOs for their top issues and concerns as they head into a new year. The comments ranged from budgets and maximizing investments to talent retention – a theme we noted for the C-suite overall heading into 2023. Here is a sample of their comments:

How to keep my best employees, while not being able to increase their compensation commensurate with inflation.”

Keeping key talent, and keeping them engaged and moving forward with our strategy.”

When will the supply chain become normal, like the way it was in 2019, or will it ever?”

Growth prospects. Technology spend. Talent attraction/retention.”

Quickly adapting to market shifts.”

Discover more about the survey results in our infographic, or find an upcoming community gathering to discuss mission critical priorities, such as the state of the economy, with your CDAO peers.

Megan Woodruff headshot

Megan Woodruff

Associate Content Director at Evanta, a Gartner Company

by CDAOs, for CDAOs

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