Jennifer Belissent and I just published a report on the role of the Chief Data Officer that we’re hearing so much about these days – Top Performers Appoint Chief Data Officers. To introduce the report, we sat down with our press team at Forrester to talk about the findings and about the implications for our clients.
Forrester PR: There’s a ton of fantastic data in the report around the CDO. If you had to call out the most surprising finding, what would top your list?
Gene: No question, it’s the high correlation between high-performing companies and those with CDOs. Jennifer and I both feel that strong data capabilities are critical for organizations today and that the data agenda is quite complex and in need of strong leadership. That all means that it’s quite logical to expect a correlation between strong data leadership and company performance — but given the relative newness of the CDO role, it was surprising to see firm performance so closely linked to the role.
Of course, you can’t infer cause and effect from correlation — the data could mean that execs in high-performing companies think having a CDO role is a good idea as much as it could mean CDOs are materially contributing to high performance. Either way, that single statistic should make one take a serious look at the role in organizations without clear data leadership.
And you’re right, there’s a ton of fantastic data in this report; the next most surprising finding is just the rapid adoption of the role. Forty-five percent of organizations globally is a lot, and this was a particularly broad-based survey, with more than 3,000 respondents.