CDAOs’ Top 7 Trends for 2024

Community Blog
Written by Emily Allen

MARCH 26, 2024

As artificial intelligence and generative AI have vaulted to the top of every business leader’s priority list, Chief Data and Analytics Officers are especially impacted by this emerging technology. Since data is the foundation for maximizing the potential opportunities of AI, the topic has surged in interest for CDAOs across Evanta communities. 

In addition to AI and the ability to evolve with the quickly changing digital landscape, data and analytics leaders are focused on aligning their data strategy to the overall business strategy. Achieving this alignment helps CDAOs demonstrate the true value of data and AI. A recent Gartner CDAO Survey notes that “for D&A leaders, the focus is on the business decision-making processes and the underlying D&A ecosystem enabling decisions.”

Each year, we survey CDAOs across Evanta communities about their top functional and enterprise priorities and the areas in which they plan to invest. Their priorities guide the topics for Evanta agendas, sessions and discussions, and the survey data enables us to track changes year over year in what is critically important to data leaders.

With more than 400 CDAOs responding, these are the top priorities for their data and analytics function – and how they have changed – for the past three years.

1. Generative & Traditional AI took the #1 spot for CDAOs in 2024. This was a new category in the survey this year, and it immediately rose to the top of data leaders’ priorities.

2. Data Governance, which had been the top functional priority for the past two years, dropped this year to #3. CDAOs’ governance strategies and policies have become increasingly important as they test and implement AI and GenAI and have to set the parameters around how the organizations’ data is used and by whom.

3. Trust & Reliability in Data, which was added as an option in 2023, has moved into the top five functional priorities for the first time. In order to drive home the potential value of data and truly make data-driven decisions, CDAOs’ peers and stakeholders have to have trust in the data.

This year, the economy is on steadier footing than last year, but data and analytics leaders continue to focus on creating efficiencies and improving productivity across the enterprise.

4. Increasing Operational Efficiencies and Productivity is the top enterprise priority for CDAOs for the second year in a row. This could be related to the high expectations around AI and the potential for it to create efficiencies and reduce redundant tasks across the organization.

5. Innovating for Competitive Advantage is a more important focus area for CDAOs than for any of their peers across the C-suite. Data leaders are the only enterprise leaders placing this in the top five priorities.

This year, 53% of CDAOs say that their planned spending on technology and services is remaining flat compared to last year. Twenty-seven percent report that their budgets are increasing in 2024. Here’s a look at CDAOs’ planned investment areas.

6. CDAOs’ planned spending reflects their top functional priorities – with Artificial Intelligence topping the list, followed closely by Data Governance.

7. Almost equal percentages of CDAOs – 40% and 39%, respectively – report they will invest in Data Quality and Machine Learning this year.

In 2024, it is crucial for data and analytics leaders to evolve and align to the digital initiatives of the business. As organizations try to take advantage of the opportunities of AI, some will have an uphill climb depending on where they are in their data journeys. The challenge for CDAOs is to meet the needs of the business and demonstrate the measurable value of data science and AI. 

To stay fully up-to-date on key topics and priorities for data and analytics leaders, join a local CDAO community. If you are already a member of an Evanta CDAO community, check out MyEvanta to view upcoming in-person and virtual opportunities to collaborate with peers.

Emily Allen headshot

Emily Allen

Associate Content Director at Evanta, a Gartner Company

by CDAOs, for CDAOs

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