Making The Case For Top Analytics Roles At C-Suite Level

Why is executive leadership crucial for the success of analytics initiative? The last few years have seen a spate of new roles at the C-suite level at large and mid-level organisations. The reason for leadership expansion is to handle massive disruption at enterprise scale, and steer the company and align around a common purpose.

C-level leaders in analytics can help organisations give real insights swiftly enough to meet the shrinking window of opportunity. This also indicates companies want to ramp up expansion fast and use analytics as a technological advantage to compete in the industry.

The C-suite role often embodies both strategic as well as operational elements. However, the penetration of digital technologies into every aspect of the business has led many firms to create the role of a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) to oversee the establishment of digital capabilities in the company.

Leadership To Manage Most Important Corporate Asset

Recent survey findings indicate there is no strong, coherent leadership strategy around corporate assets. Also, enterprises have different approaches to managing data as a corporate asset and Tier I Leadership team is coming under increased pressure because of digitisation. Switching to a data-native culture requires a change of mindset and this practice requires effective management to realise the insights mined from data and analytics offer are to be realised. The demand for digital revamping and digitisation focus led to the expansion of C-suite roles.

Four key types of roles organisations are:

  1. Innovator
  2. Evangelist
  3. Coordinator
  4. Advocate

Top C-suite titles are:

  1. CDO (Chief Digital Officer)
  2. CDO (Chief Data Officer)
  3. CTO (Chief Technology Officer)
  4. CSO (Chief Strategy Officer)
  5. CIO (Chief Innovation Officer)
  6. CSO (Chief Security Officer)

Common positions which are seeing at the C-suite level and their roles:

  • The roles of Chief Analytics Officer, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Data Officer have become common at the leadership level since these positions are expected to drive data- and analytics-related programs throughout the enterprise
  • Setting up and driving analytics success requires aligning strategy with business priorities. The role also requires to align multiple stakeholders and senior leadership teams and to make an impact. The C-suite leaders also need to eliminate departmental silos
  • C-level leaders in India and internationally are tasked with creating cross-functional and agile analytics team that can quickly translate the strategy into business models and drive bottom line revenue
  • C-level leaders have the experience and building up the team composition. They build multi-disciplinary and connect the more technical aspects of data management and analytical processes with business strategy
  • C-level leaders have the ability to deliver quantitative results and significantly improve operations. They have the ability to reinforce a data-centric vision, strategy and commitment to the lead analytics and AI initiative.
  • Senior leaders have the ability to inspire and create a data-centric culture and drive cultural transformation. C-suite leaders are needed to embed expertise and tools into day-to-day business processes and decisions throughout enterprises

With big data inundating enterprises — C-level executives are required to drive big data strategies. According to analysts, by 2025, the number of connected devices such as smartphones, tablets will grow to 20 billion connected devices. A research firm also indicated that digital density has reached a point. There are more than a billion people on Facebook, around 5.6 billion mobile devices and more than $20.4 trillion of business— today 14 percent of all economic activity — is being driven across digital channels. And this proliferation of data has led to the need for C-level executives who can build business models out of the most critical corporate asset — data which can add business value.

And senior executives and top leadership teams can make a huge cultural impact, especially in terms of implementing analytics, mobility, social media and smart embedded devices. There is a need to merge new forms of data and create valuable consumer insights and turn these insights into real-time or near the real-time action.


According to IBM research, there are compelling reasons to appoint C-suite roles. C-level leaders are 1.8 times more likely to use big data and analytics technologies pervasively across their organisation and thereby build analytically mature organisations. Strong leadership can provide key strategic direction, support and advocate key corporate data initiatives. These leaders have also the ability to iterate and refine their strategies as per the current business environment and business requirements.

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Richa Bhatia
Richa Bhatia is a seasoned journalist with six-years experience in reportage and news coverage and has had stints at Times of India and The Indian Express. She is an avid reader, mum to a feisty two-year-old and loves writing about the next-gen technology that is shaping our world.

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