Five ways that data roles will change in 2023

By Andy Palmer, Co-founder & CEO, Tamr
Andy Palmer, Co-founder & CEO of data mastering platform Tamr, speaks to Technology Magazine about how data roles at organisations will change in 2023

Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of data to inform their decision-making, to identify new opportunities, or to better understand their customers. As evidence of this recognition, 70% of companies report having a Chief Data Officer (CDO) in place today.

But what sets data-driven organisations apart is the recognition that data isn’t just the responsibility of the CDO or their team. It’s the job of everyone in the company to manage its data as a valuable product and ensure it meets the needs of the business. However, as the data and the purposes for which it’s used evolve, so too will the roles and organisational structures that support it.

Throughout 2023, as more organisations commit to becoming fully data-driven, 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, then, are five changes we can expect to see over the next 12 months and beyond:

1 – The roles of the CDO and CAO will converge – and their scope will expand

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 poor-quality data is 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 – As data citizens gain business context through more accessible tooling, the role of the citizen data scientist will continue to rise

Data scientists can struggle to succeed in many organisations, often because they lack business context for the problems they’ve 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 – Data engineers will become an even hotter commodity

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 engineers are already in high demand. But as they become ever more desirable and expensive, finding, recruiting, and hiring the right talent is difficult and 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 people will proactively embrace the need to build their analytic muscle and the importance of data quality

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 the data is consolidated and organised as appropriate for their needs, these analysts, called analytics engineers, 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 – The CDO will view data products as the primary artefact they deliver to their organisation

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 manage an organisation’s data products around key logical entity types such as customers, suppliers, products, and employees.

An evolution of the data-driven enterprise

Historically, it was the job of a CDO to focus on their organisation’s data ecosystem and the technology supporting it. But times have changed, as have the ways organisations use data, and the value it provides to businesses. As organisations embrace this change, we will not only see the role of the CDO evolve, but new positions will emerge and existing roles will 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.

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