The CDAO Outlook for 2023: Three Key Themes

Comunity Blog
Written by Megan Woodruff

FEBRUARY 16, 2023

As data continues to fuel the enterprise, Chief Data and Analytics Officers (CDAOs) are being elevated within the C-suite. CDAOs are no longer seen as just technical experts providing enablement functionality; they are true business leaders expected to deliver value for the organization. 

Research from Gartner’s Seventh Annual CDO Survey indicated that over the past few years, data and analytics leaders have become key to driving business strategy. This is further supported by evidence that CEOs are now actively working with high-performing CDAOs on initiatives, including digital transformation and innovation. Echoing these statements, Anurag Minocha, Governing Body Member of the New York CDO Community, shared his perspective on this dynamic:

The whole data landscape has matured over the years with CDO no longer being a new role that needs justification within an organization. The C-suite realizes the value CDOs bring to the table, and I see several strategic decisions and investments being made that will come from innovations from the CDO office.”


This heightened visibility and reliance on CDAOs is a positive step for business advancement, but it takes an organizational shift toward data and analytics to see success. However, this is one of their greatest obstacles, and many CDAOs are struggling to be “change leaders” for a data-driven culture.

To rise above these challenges and deliver value, data and analytics leaders are prioritizing people and processes as a part of their action plans this year. And with this at the core, we expect CDAOs to focus on these three themes in 2023:

  1. Structuring Data Governance to Improve the Digital Enterprise

Data governance has been a top priority for CDAOs for years, and we anticipate it to remain this way. Calling data governance “complex” is an understatement, as data volume increases, company priorities shift, new tools become available, data stewards need to be trained and mentored, and the like. However, despite these complexities, data governance is critical to ensuring the data is trustworthy and used appropriately, and CDAOs need to remain diligent about their practices.

  1. Fostering a Culture of Data Literacy and Analytics-Based Decision Making

In order for CDAOs to galvanize the organization toward a data-driven future, the workforce must have the proper knowledge and skills to articulate their data needs, understand the tools they have access to and properly source and analyze the right data to make informed decisions. Gartner forecasted the importance of data literacy for this year, stating, “By 2023, data literacy will become essential in driving business value, demonstrated by its formal inclusion in over 80% of data and analytics strategies and change management programs.” 

This is one of the greatest hurdles for CDAOs, and we believe many will focus on assessing their current data literacy metrics and implementing training programs and other means to improve it over the course of the year.  

  1. Data Sharing — Driving Business Value Through Access & Collaboration

To match the pace of business, every function within the enterprise needs to be making better decisions, faster - with data sharing and accessibility being critical components. In conjunction with a data-driven culture and improved data literacy, CDAOs seek to empower the workforce with self-service capabilities. Gartner predicted that by 2023, organizations with shared ontology, semantics, governance and stewardship processes that enable data sharing will outperform those that do not, and CDAOs are striving towards this goal.

These three themes are in many ways, intertwined around the notion of immense change management. This can seem daunting, but it's possible to make an impact. Genevy Dimitrion, VP, Data Strategy & Governance at Humana and Co-Chair of the Boston CDO Community, has over a decade of experience building data governance frameworks, and although she mentions to “never expect perfection”, she shares how she continues to made strides in these areas to create a movement for data accountability that is transforming Humana.

The top CDAO priorities, goals and challenges for 2023 inform our community discussions and the agenda at our upcoming gatherings throughout the year. Join your local CDAO community to connect with like-minded peers who share your priorities – apply to join here.


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.