The CDAO Outlook for 2022: Three Key Themes

Community Blog
Written by Liz Ramey

FEBRUARY 11, 2022

As data has become increasingly critical to powering digital business, the role of the CDAO has also grown in importance and visibility. Last year, we wrote about the progress data and analytics leaders have made by focusing on digital business acceleration. This year, CDAOs will continue to drive their businesses toward data-driven decision making with data democratization, accessibility and trust across the organization.

Gartner’s Sixth Annual CDAO Survey notes that “nearly a quarter (23.8%) of respondents were leading their enterprise’s digital transformation initiatives, and 72% were either leading or heavily involved.” It goes on to say that “the data and analytics leader is a critical role with many accountabilities, but a primary mission is to create internal and external value.”

Niresh Rajah, a CDAO in the UK community, stated the priorities for data leaders another way that I liked, saying, “CDAOs need to balance their focus (and the team’s focus) on offense (revenue generation and customer service) with defense (regulation and controls).” 

The idea of value creation — balanced with governance and compliance – is present in the three themes we think CDAOs will be focused on in 2022:

  1. Expanding Digital Business & Accelerating Value Creation

The universal demand for digital business growth has increased tenfold, driving the need for CDAOs to be hyper-focused on delivering value. Chief Data Officers are intentionally organizing and building ecosystems that shorten the space between time to value.

  1. Influencing Culture & Collaboration with Governance

Creating a data-first culture continues to challenge CDAOs, as they look to drive data democratization and accessibility. CDAOs are building collaborative environments with data at the core, empowered by agile governance and real-time insights.

  1. Orchestrating Change & Empowering Real-time Decisions

There are elements of business, economics and society that are constantly changing, but the CDAO is orchestrating meaningful change across enterprises by fueling the decisions with quality data.

As Gartner’s report goes on to say, “most enterprises are at the beginning of their transformational journeys to become data-driven.” Data and analytics leaders have real challenges and opportunities ahead involving organizational transformation and change management. 

The need for strong and capable data and analytics leaders necessitates peer support and interaction among the CDAO community. As Rajah says, “The CDAO role, like the premier league manager, can be lonely. Sharing ideas, perspectives and challenges with a peer can be liberating.”

Stay in touch with your CDAO in community 2022 through a variety of virtual and in-person ways to connect and learn. We hope D&A leaders in Evanta communities can continue to lean on each other for insights and learnings to help them succeed in the workplace.


Liz Ramey headshot

Liz Ramey

Director, Content at Evanta, a Gartner Company

by CDAOs, for CDAOs

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