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5 Facts About Chief Data Officers

By Mark Raskino | November 06, 2013 | 0 Comments

Whenever a new job role or title emerges in business, the reaction is usually a mixture of confusion, misinformation, conflation and denial.  My role as a Gartner analyst is to help in creating research that will answer questions chief executives have about IT and business. So when a new C-level leader title arrives, related to IT,  I need to be able to explain it. Is it real or has a trend been over interpreted from just a handful of cases?  Why are companies creating the role and what does it really do?

Chief Data Officer is one of those titles that has been rising in visibility over the last 2 or 3 years. My analyst colleagues in our information management team, research the tools and techniques that these leaders will apply – such as Infonomics, MDM, Data Science and Open Data.  My task is to ensure we can answer the CEO’s questions about CDOs – things like “who are these people?”  and “do I need one?”. So  I have been taking another look at the early-bird CDOs recently.

Here are five 2013 CDO facts that might interest you.

CDO Fact #1     There are over 100 chief data officers (carrying that actual  job title) – serving in large enterprises today. That’s more than double the number we counted in 2012.

CDO Fact #2    Banking, Government and Insurance are the top 3 industries for Chief Data Officers –  in that order. However we are now seeing other industries rising.

CDO Fact #3    65% of Chief Data Officers are in the United States. 20% are in the UK.  There are now CDOs in over a dozen countries.

CDO Fact #4    Over 25% Of all Chief Data Officers are in New York or DC.  It’s a regulatory catalyzed trend – at least in the early stages.

CDO Fact #5    Over 25% of Chief Data Officers are women.  In case you are wondering –  that’s almost twice as high as for CIOs (13%)

New, technology related C-leader titles are like buses: you wait for ages – then 3 come along at the same time. We are also watching the “chief digital officer” role very carefully. At this stage  I think the ratio of digital officers to data officers is around 2:1. It’s a real large-enterprise C-leader role, but it has different industry clustering.   There is  also a rapid rise in the number of people carrying the job title “chief data scientist” – however at this early stage the majority of those professionals are in smaller technology and information analytics specialty services firms.



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