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BearingPoint: Organizations With Data and Analytics Leaders Put More Weight on Customer Experience and Drive Revenue Growth

BearingPoint survey indicates that only 41% of organizations have a CDO office, out of which only 19% have reached a high maturity level

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of data: organizations facilitate better decisions and faster course changes during crisis based on what they learn from data. Management and technology consultancy BearingPoint’s new Chief Data Officer (CDO) survey reveals that while leadership roles in data and analytics come with different titles, they all ultimately involve the same responsibility: to drive data management and governance throughout the organization. According to the survey, only 41% of respondents indicate that their organization has a CDO office, out of which only 19% have reached a high maturity level.

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CDOs are responsible for more than just data management

The survey findings show that most companies see the data and analytics leader function as a pathfinder to increase competitiveness and address data governance challenges, whereas data security concerns seem to be less pressing. In the consumer and production industries, organizations appoint CDOs primarily due to business factors and the need to derive better business insights using data and analytics. These sectors typically operate in highly competitive conditions with low margins, where innovation is paramount to compete by launching new products and improving operational efficiency. Unsurprisingly, for both financial and public services industries, issues with data quality, regulatory compliance, and the subsequent challenges with data management and governance are the main reasons to introduce a CDO office.

Tomas Chroust, Data & Analytics and AI Leader in Germany, Switzerland and Austria at BearingPoint, explains: “Chief Data Officers need to shift the focal point further up the data value chain. Data availability, quality, and security are basic requirements; however, data leaders are expected to spend more time on data exploration and creating actionable business insights while playing a crucial role in promoting the data culture across the organization.”

Lack of talent is still an issue, but data literacy and cultural challenges are the biggest obstacles to success

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Successful data and analytics leaders bridge the gap between technical and business stakeholders by advocating data-citizenship. The survey confirms the general communication challenge between business and technology stakeholders: a lack of data literacy, meaning the ability to derive, understand, communicate and act upon data, is the top challenge CDOs face when increasing the value of data and analytics, said 65% of respondents, alongside cultural resistance to change (56%) and a lack of talent (49%).

While data scientists and engineers play the principal roles in today’s teams, data translators (there are fewer) also play a crucial role in using data storytelling to engage and influence stakeholders. The two main challenges, low data literacy and cultural resistance to change, highlight the need for data translators to bridge the digital divide between business and technical stakeholders and expedite the journey to an insights-driven company.

“Data literacy and the lack of a clear strategy are the biggest challenges to thriving digitalization. Successful data and analytics leaders position data as a critical enterprise asset and evangelize how it can contribute to business success. I would advise thinking big but to start small by realizing some true data-driven success stories,” advises Vegar Paulsen, Global Leader Data & Analytics and AI at BearingPoint

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How the CDO can guide a business to success

Organizations with a CDO prioritize differently, putting more weight on customer experience and driving revenue growth. Data and analytics leaders have traditionally focused on delivering services for projects rather than building an enterprise-wide data-driven culture. CDOs and their teams act as impactful change agents driving the data-driven transformation and increasing their company’s competitiveness. In most companies, there is significant potential for improving the setup and ramping up the CDO office. CDO offices should be composed of technical experts and change and communication specialists who speak and understand the business lingua.

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