Data and analytics: on the radar of Australian CEOs

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“Darta” or “dayta”? It’s a word with two pronunciations, which creates a talking point before you even delve into all the different challenges around this rapidly growing subject.

This is just the starting point of difference when I talk to candidates and clients. As I get further into discussing the subject of data with organisations across Melbourne, I have found common ground across a wide range of organisations. From finance to retail, government to not-for-profits, businesses leaders often ask me which organisation’s data initiatives are delivering the best results. In my experience, most companies assume their competitors are more advanced than they are, but this is not often the case.

Right at this moment, the data sector is changing rapidly and these changes are impacting both business and IT. The majority of organisations I speak to have been developing data insights in specialist areas like marketing or finance and not so much for the larger business picture. This is leading to more questions around data quality and security. It is clear that, in order to gain better value from data in the future, there is often a level of housekeeping that organisations should be addressing first. Questions that need to be considered include:

  • What data governance is in place?
  • How secure is the data?
  • Which technologies are best invested in to ensure data is well maintained and accessible?
  • What is the impact of cloud technologies on the cost of data initiatives?

To compound the challenge, we are also seeing a constant stream of new articles suggesting that Australian businesses need to invest in advanced solutions like AI (artificial intelligence) and ML (machine learning). These technologies are increasingly creating value for companies. According to Gartner, the business value created by AI will reach $3.9 trillion in 2022. Are local organisations ready for this level of change yet?

Data is now a big ticket item and it’s on the radar of executives. As a result, I have seen an increase in new senior roles in the data space - Chief Data Officer, Head of Data Analytics and Insights, Lead Data Scientist. Of key importance is the CDO (Chief Data Officer), who reports to the executive and is a peer to the CIO or technology leaders.

The CDO’s job is to create a strong data strategy to align with the overarching business strategy and take the lead in managing the expectations of business leaders. This role helps to steer an organisation to collaborate around data initiatives to gain more value for the company. CDOs are also doing the essential job of bridging the gap between business and IT. Both need to lean on each other to ensure the success of data initiatives, to support the business as it addresses regulatory requirements, to provide guidance about future technology investment and to ensure safe management of customer and business data.

Increased use of “darta” will continue to impact all of our lives. Will your role be part of driving that change?

 

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