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July 31, 2019

CDO 4.0 Arrives with Product Focus: Gartner


Harnessing data and analytics within the construct of impactful products will be the focus of the latest incarnation of the chief data officer, CDO 4.0, the Gartner Research Board announced today.

We are on the cusp of the rise of a new generation of CDO that will look beyond just data and analytics (D&A), according to Mario Faria, a Gartner VP and program director of the Gartner Research Board.

“CDO 1.0 was focused exclusively in data management,” Faria states in a press release. “CDO 2.0 started to embrace analytics. CDO 3.0 led and participated quite heavily in digital transformation. This fourth version of the CDO is focused on products, and on managing profit and loss instead of just being responsible for driving D&A projects and programs.”

Instead of just focusing on daily business tasks as well as a set of strategic one-off projects, leaders who come from the CDO 4.0 mold will seek to impact business through a set of on-going data-oriented products, the Gartner VP suggests.

“The change to a product-centric organization must focus on business areas where there is room to innovate, such as supporting a new business model,” Faria says. “Product-centric approaches make it easier to rapidly innovate and iterate because they focus on user experience, evolving requirements, and the strategic differentiation for what you are delivering.”

To get started on this product journey, Gartner recommends that CDOs concentrate their efforts on building a D&A platform first, and then define the release plan and roadmap. While data products are the ultimate goal, CDOs need to think about the data first, and then come up with compelling products that can harness that data.

Faria recommends that companies emulate the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple, all of which have embedded advanced D&A capabilities into compelling products. These firms have pushed the art of data capture and analytics usage, while accelerating the development cycle to achieve business impact.

The arrival of CDO 4.0 should coincide with a substantial change in perspective for the IT department and the company as a whole. Instead of building one-off projects for narrow use cases, companies should strive on developing D&A platforms that can scale across the entire company.

“Not all CDOs will be able to make the transition from a project or programs mindset to a product mentality,”Faria said. “CDOs who are able to deliver results using an operating model that hides details and is focused on the better, more scalable usage of the data assets, will succeed.”

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