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chief data officer: Role of Chief Data Officer gaining importance in organisations: IBM study

The Chief Data Officer (CDO) is rapidly becoming an important member of the C- suite, pointing towards the growing importance of data in modern business operations.

A new IBM Institute for Business Value study on CDOs found that these leaders are under significant pressure to deliver results – expectations for their role and remit vary widely and their tenure is the lowest amongst all boardroom roles, only 4.5 years on average.

Further, over 75% CDOs ranked security as the most important characteristic of their data architecture, closely followed by being cloud-ready. While businesses look towards accelerating technology adoption for higher business value and growth, there is a growing concern for implementing the right security measures for enhanced protection.

“As the amount of data generated by businesses continues to grow at an exponential rate, the Chief Data Officer has become increasingly critical in helping organizations unlock business value,” said Siddhesh Naik, Country Leader, Data, AI & Automation, Technology Sales, IBM India & South Asia. “As Indian businesses continue to progress on their transformation journeys, their CDOs need to create a clear line of sight from data to value and engage with ecosystem partners – while making sure that their data investments accelerate business growth and are a central element of business model innovation.”

About 57% of respondents in India said ensuring data security is the most critical responsibility of their role, with 56% indicating increasing data ROI as the most critical. Data security is critical, with 56% saying that their organisation’s data is secure and protected, and 68% saying that their customers’ data is secure and protected.

Just under half (48%) of CDOs surveyed say they are making better and faster decisions by applying AI and data, and only 38% report they are using AI to automate decision-making. However, 67% respondents said that they are applying artificial intelligence and machine learning to unlock value from data while 64% are applying automation.

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Over 61% of CDOs indicated they had clearly defined thresholds for automated decision-making. About 74% of CDO respondents have ecosystem partners that are extremely engaged in their data strategy. The study is based on a survey of 3,000 CDOs globally, including in India.

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