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Data and Analytics Benefits are Driven by Culture Change

Managing big data apps is a challenge for many IT organizations. Moreover, chief data officers (CDOs) and their data and analytics (DA) teams are not achieving the best balance required to deliver superior performance, according to the latest market study by Gartner.

"CDOs are generally focused upon the right things, but they do not have the right mix of activities," said Debra Logan, vice president at Gartner.

Data and Analytics Market Development

The Gartner survey found that while the creation of a data-driven culture was ranked the number one critical factor to the DA team, there were conflicting rankings for technical and nontechnical activities (data integration and data skills training), and strategic and tactical activities (enterprise information management [EIM] program and architecting a DA platform).

While the implementation of a DA strategy was ranked the number three most-critical success factor by 28 percent of CDOs, another strategic activity – creating a data literacy program – was ranked only 12th.

This was despite the fact that, in the same survey, ‘poor data literacy’ was rated the number one roadblock to creating a data-driven culture and realizing its business benefits.

"The low ranking of strategic activities can be explained because the majority of organizations are at maturity level 3 or higher for EIM and business intelligence and analytics," said Ms. Logan.

While the survey shows that information governance is important, especially master data management (MDM), CDOs should never lose sight of the business outcomes they are trying to achieve. Focusing exclusively on governance, even MDM, is not enough to succeed as a CDO.

A majority of CDO respondents rated machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) as critical at 76 percent and 67 percent, respectively. Sixty-five percent of respondents were using or piloting ML, while 53 percent were using or piloting AI.

However, a relatively small percentage of CDOs that were surveyed are already using or piloting smart contracts (18 percent) or blockchain (16 percent).

In terms of measuring the value of their organization’s information and data assets, only 8 percent of CDOs were measuring the financial value of DA.

Forty-five percent of CDOs reported they produce some data quality metrics – such as accuracy, completeness, scale and usage – while 29 percent said they measure the impact of key information and data assets on business processes, such as KPIs.

The Gartner survey also found that the majority of CDOs generated value from information assets to improve internal processes (60 percent) and increase the value of products and services (57 percent), with a focus on efficiency.

Outlook for DA Applications Innovation

Fifty percent of CDOs reported a focus on enhancing new offerings by innovating with information. Other means to realize value from information assets also lagged. Nineteen percent of CDO respondents were selling or licensing information via data brokers or online marketplaces and only 17 percent were selling or licensing to others for cash.

Overall, respondents using information and data assets to generate indirect economic benefits were more likely to report superior organizational performance when engaged in improving or developing new offerings, in increasing the value of their products or services, and in exchanging information with business partners for goods, services or favorable contract terms.

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