How companies manage data and AI initiatives

NewVantage Partners has released the results of its annual Data and AI Leadership Executive Survey.

data ai initiatives

In the Foreword to this year’s survey, NewVantage Partners CEO Randy Bean, and Thomas H. Davenport, a Fellow with the firm, write “The ten years of the survey provide a useful measure of progress—or the lack thereof in some respects—in how companies are managing these important initiatives. From 2012 to 2022 the survey has assessed the initiatives that large companies are focused on, where they are investing and the returns they are getting, the roles assigned to manage data, and the issues that cause significant challenges.”

The state of data and AI initiatives

Investment in data and AI initiatives continues to grow as efforts deliver measurable results

Investment in data and AI initiatives continues to grow – the 2022 survey indicates that 97% of participating organizations are investing in data initiatives and that 91% are investing in AI activities. This year, 92.1% of organizations report that they are realizing measurable business benefits, up from just 48.4% in 2017 and 70.3% in 2020.

Achieving data-driven leadership remains an elusive aspiration for most organizations

Organizations still face a potentially long road ahead of them in their efforts to become data driven. Less than half of respondents replied that they were competing on data and analytics – 47.4%; only 39.7% reported that they were managing data as an enterprise business asset; barely over a quarter – 26.5% — report that they have created a data-driven organization; and just 19.3% indicate that they have established a data culture.

AI initiatives are accelerating, but implementation of AI into widespread production remains low

Organizations report a more than doubling of AI initiatives that have moved into widespread production – 26%, up from just 12.1% in 2021. Yet, this continues to represent a small proportion of companies that are using AI on a widespread basis. Overall, 95.8% of organizations have AI initiatives that are underway in pilot of limited production.

Becoming data-driven requires an organizational focus on cultural change

For the 4th consecutive year, over 90% of executives – 91.9% in 2022 — point to culture as the greatest impediment to achieving this business outcome. Only 8.1% cite technology limitations as the primary impediment.

data ai initiatives

The Chief Data and Analytics Officer (CDAO) role continues to grow and evolve, while turnover and stability remain challenges in what is still a new role

The percentage of organizations that have appointed a Chief Data and Analytics Officer (CDAO) continues to increase – up from just 12% in 2012 when this survey was first conducted to 73.7% in 2022, a decade later. Challenges remain however as 59.8% of organizations continue to report that the role is nascent, evolving, or subject to turnover.

The CDAO role is focusing in on business growth and analytic outcomes

It is notable within the past few years how the CDO role has evolved to encompass analytics as an expanded CDAO function – 44.3% of CDAOs now come from a data analytics or data science background, contrasted with 29.1% from a data management or data governance background.

Data ethics will be the next major frontier for leading organizations

Less than half of organizations – 44.2% — report that they have well-established policies and practices in place governing data and AI ethics and the responsible use of data. Less than a quarter of data executives – 21.6% — believe that the industry has done enough to address data and AI ethics issues and standards.

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