Data volumes and sources are multiplying at break-neck speed. This avalanche of data—of unlocked business intelligence—holds colossal value, offering organizations a golden opportunity to drive smart decision-making, guide digital transformation, and surge ahead of the competition.

More than ever, organizations are challenged to become data-driven against a backdrop of competitive threats, shareholder and public expectations, and technological transformation. For most organizations, however, the path to becoming fully data driven is filled with hurdles that can only be overcome with strong data leadership and cultural change, as revealed in NewVantage Partners’ 2022 Data and AI Leadership Executive Survey.

Recently acquired by Wavestone, NewVantage Partners are cutting-edge data leaders in their own right. Their findings from the survey offer key insights into how business leaders can pioneer data initiatives and establish data practices that thrive in the long-term:



Organizations continue to struggle to become data driven, with only 26.5% reporting having achieved this goal, and only 19.3% reporting having established a data culture.

You can collect all the data in the world, but if you’re not managing it as a business asset across the entire organization—if you don’t have the right business processes in place, if you’re constrained by outdated organizational structures, and you’re dealing with a tiresome resistance to change—your data initiatives aren’t going to get very far.



Cultural impediments remain the greatest barrier to organizations becoming data driven, with 91.9% of survey respondents identifying this as the great challenge.

There is a strong consensus that internal culture remains a sizable impediment to any organization’s efforts to become progressively data driven. These include:

  • Slow adaptability
  • Reengineering of business processes
  • Education of staff
  • Requirements for data literacy
  • Organizational alignment to support business objectives

In the face of these all-too-common roadblocks, the strong hand of a data leader can guide the organizational change needed to drive data-driven decision-making, lead data initiatives from the top down, and facilitate a data-driven culture, which, ultimately, leads to better business outcomes.



A new high of 73.7% of organizations surveyed have appointed a Chief Data and Analytics Officer (CDAO), up from 12.0% when the survey was first conducted in 2012.

Yet, 59.8% of these organizations see the CDAO role as still nascent and evolving, and 44.2% have struggled with turnover in the role.

This, too, doesn’t come without its challenges, as we’re seeing organizations continue to struggle to reduce turnover, improve stability, and establish achievable expectations for the CDAO function, amid the increasing adoption of centralized data leadership structures. So, the question remains: what more can be done to build a data culture?


4 Tips to Achieve Data-Driven Leadership

More organizations need to hire data and AI executives with backgrounds and experience in organizational change rather than just technology and analytics.

Companies could engage change management experts to understand barriers to data-driven cultures and how to remove them.

Senior executives need to promote data-driven decision-making and to hire and promote those who practice it.

Business leaders need to celebrate data successes and highlight these successes at all levels of their organizations.



As your organization looks to the future with the aspiration of becoming data-driven, the full insights garnered from your industry peers in the NVP 2022 executive survey report will provide you with an ideal springboard as you chart your path to achieving data-driven leadership and help you in addressing challenges previously thought too difficult with a more informed and robust data strategy.

The Age of Data is here.
Are you ready to make the most of it?



Our team is a blend of former C-suite executives and industry leaders, and high-quality talent at all levels who can tackle your most complex issues with a fresh approach. With a globally connected network of 3,000 employees, Wavestone is designed to help you get results. All our consultants thrive on complex challenges, enjoy blazing new trails, and are committed to your organization’s success.

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