Hot Topics CDAOs are Talking About in 2023

Community Blog
Written by Megan Woodruff

JULY 11, 2023

Throughout the spring, Evanta held seven CDAO Executive Summits across North America and the UK, serving more than 500 C-level data and analytics leaders. As we began to prepare for summits this year, generative AI tools, like ChatGPT, rocked the D&A community. For many leaders in the space, this technology is the most innovative since the launch of the cloud.

Artificial intelligence along with topics such as communication tactics, data culture and analytics strategy dominated agendas, earning some of the highest ratings from attendees. A few of the top-rated sessions include:

Words That Work — Using Powerful Language to Deliver Results

Effective communication is a critical component of success for CDAOs, and impactful words can be the difference for successful decision-making. In this session at the Dallas CDAO Executive Summit, author Val Wright offered techniques to elevate business speak and gain support from key stakeholders.

This is what a few attendees shared after the session:

Excellent content and perspective on the importance of communication.”

Loved the perspective Val brought to the table. Can’t wait to read her books!”

Very thought-provoking. Appreciate the actionable insights.”

Growing Data Literacy — Creating a Culture of Safety

One of the biggest goals for data and analytics leaders is to cultivate a culture that embraces data and centers around insights for decision-making. But to do this, they must first create a culture of safety. In this session for the New York CDAO Community, Alexander Izaguirre, CDO for Weill Cornell Medical College, shared how to move away from “gut feel” decisions, boost the skills of the workforce and build internal pipelines for data roles.

Executive summit attendees provided their feedback:

Great to hear from a peer who successfully transformed his company’s data literacy.”

        The examples given at the Q&A were great.”

          Best ever!”

Creating a Solid Foundation to Cultivate AI

According to Gartner, generative AI promises to accelerate digital product delivery and improve operational efficiency more than any technology of the last 10 years. But organizations cannot solely focus on implementation. They must have the proper foundation in place, focusing on risk, security, transparency and ethics. In this session at the Southern California CDAO Executive Summit, Erik Zwiefel, CDAO, Americas Data & AI for Microsoft shared the fundamentals of data governance and how to identify challenges when governing AI. 

Participants were highly engaged in this session. These are a few of their comments:

Erik’s presentation opened my eyes to a few other benefits and cautions to take for preparing an AI strategy for the enterprise. Great speaker.”

On point and added some additional points I had not considered.”

Great insight on why and how we all need to be responsible in an AI era.”

        Simply outstanding”


Fuelled by Data — Gaining a Competitive Edge with Analytics

Looking back on a career spanning three decades in the data and technology space, Neil Martin, renowned Formula One data scientist and former head of strategy at McLaren, Red Bull Racing and Ferrari shared how he’s driven results at the pinnacle of world motorsport. In a keynote address for Evanta’s UK & Ireland CDAO Community, Martin shared his experience with digital twins and predictive analytics, how he’s mitigated and embraced risk and how Formula 1 techniques translate today outside of racing.

Attendees said:

Neil did a great job delivering his content. I like the way he framed, ‘We are a data and technology business whose product happens to be F1.’”

Really dynamic session. Fantastic real examples and a very impressive piece around pushing the boundaries of predictive modelling and ‘betting the business’ on it.”

           Absolutely brilliant.”

Accelerate AI Adoption Through Organizational, Process and Technology Transformation

AI has taken an exponential leap forward over the past two years, generating equal amounts of excitement and concern from corporate offices to dining room tables. These advancements have left organizations wondering how to trust the results of AI, align to new capabilities of the technology and scale at the same pace of new market features. In this session for the Boston CDAO Community, Matt Maccaux, Global Field CTO for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, explored how the best in the business are deploying AI and governing with a future-focused mindset.

Data and analytics leaders commented:

Great speaker and touched upon all aspects of transformation.”

        Excellent presentation.”

        Good storyteller and variety of perspectives.”

Most Read Articles

In addition to gatherings, Evanta regularly shares community insights throughout the year. Here are some of the most popular articles CDAOs were reading in 2023:

  1. 2023 CDAO Leadership Perspectives - This infographic showcases the results of Evanta’s annual Leadership Perspective Survey, where 330 CDOs and CDAOs shared their mission critical priorities, challenges and investment areas for 2023.
  2. The CDAO Outlook for 2023: Three Key Themes - At the beginning of every year, we share three themes for CDOs and CDAOs to focus on for the upcoming year.
  3. 9 Trends for CDAOs in 2023 - Based on the results of the Leadership Perspective Survey, this blog observes some of the trends in CDAOs’ enterprise priorities, functional objectives and planned spend for 2023.

This season of Evanta CDAO summits was wildly successful with attendees telling us they can’t wait for more:

This was my first Evanta meeting and I left wishing there had been a second day. I really like the focus on topics specific to my role as a data professional and meeting peers that have the same challenges as I do.”

The content Evanta provided was far and beyond that of other CDO conferences I have attended.”

And for others, they can’t wait to add Evanta summits into their list of must-attend conferences. One CDAO said, “This was an outrageously unexpected high-quality event that I have taken back to my team as one we cannot miss in the future!”

Until our next summit season begins in November, we’ll be holding town halls virtually with many of the communities we serve. Join your local Evanta community to save your seat at the next gathering, and find the date of your local Executive Summit by checking out our calendar.


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.