Wavestone has released the results of its notable 12th Annual Data and AI Leadership Executive Survey of Fortune 1000 and Global data leadership. This year, an impressive 95.3% of respondents held a C-suite title or were the company's corporate head of data and AI responsibilities, the majority (89.8%) being Chief Data Officers (CDO) or Chief Data and Analytics Officers (CDAO) within their organisations. These executives had their roles throughout 2023 in over 100 Fortune 1000 and Global data leadership organisations.
The annual Wavestone survey, first published in 2012 by NewVantage Partners (later acquired by Wavestone in 2021), was initiated by a group of Fortune 1000 CIOs and data leaders with the aim of apprehending whether it was the appropriate time to expand and expedite data and analytics initiatives and investments. Over the last 12 years, it has evolved and is now acknowledged as the longest-running survey of Fortune 1000 and global data, analytics, and AI leaders.
Randy Bean, Innovation Fellow at Wavestone and Founder of NewVantage Partners, and Thomas H. Davenport, author of the landmark 'Competing on Analytics' study, reflected on the past year, stating, "The past year has been an exceptional one in many respects, not the least of which is the extraordinary rise of Generative AI." They added, "That surpasses any other development in the data and technology domain, and in this 12th annual survey from Wavestone, Generative AI has a profound influence."
The 2024 Data and AI Leadership Executive Survey reveals substantial findings: leading companies persist in their investments in data and analytics, expecting to deliver business value. Moreover, companies regard Generative AI as possibly the most transformational technology of this generation. They perceive the CDO/CDAO role as essential, despite notable turnover and short tenures. In addition, companies acknowledge that the integration of data and AI into conventional business processes and the modification of organisational culture necessitates time and commitment. Lastly, they believe that data and AI safeguards and governance are crucial, yet more work remains to be carried out.
Among the remarkable results of the survey, 87.9% of participants reported that investments in data and analytics are a top organisational priority. Investments in Generative AI were stated as a top organisational priority by 62.3% of respondents. Furthermore, 89.6% of respondents disclosed that investment in Generative AI is increasing within their organisation. A significant 79.4% stated that Generative AI should be incorporated as part of the CDO/CDAO function. Intriguingly, 15.9% of participants declared that sufficient steps have been taken to address data and AI ethics.