Organisations are creating, accessing and using more sources and types of information than ever before.
This trend, combined with the increasing need to understand how data is being used within a company, is driving the need for chief data officers (CDOs).
Ahead of the Gartner Enterprise Information & Master Data Management 2014, held March 12-13 in London, Gartner predicts that by 2015, 25 percent of large global organisations will have appointed CDOs.
Debra Logan, research vice president and Gartner Fellow, believes that there are more than 100 CDOs serving in large organizstions today, which is more than double the number in 2012.
Gartner has also found that 65 percent of CDOs are in the U.S. while 20 percent are in the U.K. There are, however, CDOs in over a dozen countries now.
In addition, over 25 percent of CDOs are women, almost twice as high as for CIOs (13 percent). The position is most common in heavily regulated industries, media and government.
"CIOs should view the CDO as a peer and partner who can manage data and who has the knowledge, background and skills to do so, which allows CIOs to focus on the more-than-full time job that they already have," Logan says.
"CDOs are appearing more rapidly in some industries than in others. Banking, government and insurance are the first three industries to adopt the CDO role and in that order.
"However, we are now seeing other industries following. For example, we saw the first significant appointments in the advertising industry in 2013."
Logan insists however that it is important to remember that the CDOs do not "own" the data.
"They may own key processes around the data and be "in charge" of some data - for example master data," she adds. "The CDO owns a few things, but coordinates the use of data in other places.
"This is exactly like a CFO, who owns a few financial processes, like consolidation and treasury, but other than that coordinates the use of capital throughout the organisation."