2023 is the turning point for data roles

As many as  70% of organisations now report they have a Chief Data Officer (CDO) in place, indicating that many businesses now recognise the benefits that being data-driven can deliver – from having a better understanding of their customers to identifying new revenue opportunities.

But just because this role exists in a company does not mean that the responsibility of data should rest on the CDO’s shoulders and their team, alone. If organisations want to be truly data-driven, they must engage all business functions to view and manage their data as a valuable product and ensure it meets the needs of the company. However, as the data and the purposes for which it’s used evolve, so too will the roles and organisational structures that support it.

As more organisations commit to becoming fully data-driven this year, we can expect to see a shift in both culture and mindset. New roles will emerge, existing roles will evolve and expand, and businesses will focus more on data products as a means of realising data as a core asset.

Here are five key changes we  expect to see over the next 12 months and beyond:

1 – We’ll see convergence of the CDO and CAO roles – and their scope expanded

The CDO and Chief Analytics Officer (CAO) have developed as relatively separate roles, each with its own responsibilities and remit. But the ongoing evolution of data means these roles must converge.

This convergence will empower CDOs to embrace a more holistic view of the way data is consumed across their organisation. At the same time, CAOs are realising that clean, curated, continuously updated data is essential in allowing them to deliver on their remit of democratised analytics. In fact, most CAOs now believe that insufficiently high-quality data acts as a bottleneck to their analytic initiatives.

Today, there are more Chief Data and Analytic Officers (CDAO) than ever before – and we can expect many to emerge in the years ahead.

2 – More access to self-serving data tools will see the role of citizen data scientist continue to rise 

Data scientists can struggle to succeed in many organisations, often due to a lack of business context for the problems they’d been charged with solving.

But now, as more organisations implement self-service tooling, data citizens are able to gain greater access to data. With an understanding of the business context, and with experience in data models and architecture, they’re able to perform more sophisticated analysis. As a result, we’re seeing a rise in the role of the citizen data scientist, especially in larger, more data-driven organisations.

3 – Increased demand for data engineers will see software engineers retrain 

While the number of data scientists has exploded in recent years, many companies have realised that without next-generation data engineering, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to realise all their data science and AI-related promises.

Qualified data scientists are already in high demand. But, as they become ever more desirable and expensive, it’s becoming more difficult for organisations to find, recruit, and hire the right talent. This is proving to be a hindrance to their data-driven aspirations. To overcome this challenge, some businesses are encouraging software engineers to branch out into data engineering, while others are trying to retrain their database administrators.

As data engineers become more sought after, we’ll see more organisations explore creative ways to fill these roles. Inevitably, though, many will simply have to pay up to get the best data engineering talent.

4 – Business analysts will take on the quest for better data quality across their business 

Business analysts are often frustrated by the lack of organisation and quality of a company’s data, not to mention the inability to find the information they need.

To ensure that it’s consolidated and organised as appropriate for their needs, some take matters into their own hands and assume responsibility for the collection of data across the organisation.

As business people become increasingly driven by data and analytics, we can expect to see this occurring more and more often.

5 – CDOs will add a new string to their bow and become data product owners 

Most organisations will have hundreds of data products they deliver throughout their business, and will require a wealth of new infrastructure, people, and processes to deliver them reliably.

A new role will therefore emerge for the CDO in 2023 – the data product owner. Similar to a software product owner, this new role will involve managing an organisation’s data products around key logical entity types such as customers, suppliers, products, and employees.

Becoming truly data-driven means moving with the times

Times have changed, as have the ways organisations use data, and the value it provides to businesses. So, while traditionally the job of the CDO may have been to manage an organisation’s data ecosystem and the tech supporting it, their role will evolve. Alongside this, we’ll see new positions emerge and existing roles expand to maximise the potential and value of data. And this will mark 2023 as a turning point for many organisations as they move towards becoming truly data-driven.

About the Author

Andy Palmer is Co-founder & CEO of Tamr. With a co-founding team led by Andy Palmer (founding CEO of Vertica) and Mike Stonebraker (Turing Award winner) and backed by investors including NEA, Google Ventures, and GE Ventures, Tamr is transforming how companies get value from their data. Tamr is the enterprise-scale data unification company trusted by industry leaders like GE, Toyota, Thomson Reuters, and GSK. The company’s patented software platform uses machine learning supplemented by human expertise to unify and prepare data across myriad silos to deliver previously unavailable business-changing insights.

Featured image: ©Quardia