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The two biggest challenges facing top data-focused executives are data security and keeping up with the rapid pace of technological advances.
A June 2017 Experian Data Quality survey of chief data officers, or CDOs, found that almost 60% of respondents said keeping up with technology advances would be a key business challenge over the next two years.
Part of the challenge for CDOs, the Experian report noted, is that the scope of their roles and responsibilities is often unclear. “Nearly half of the CDOs we spoke with entered their position with no clear remit or responsibilities with few resources and constrained budgets,” wrote Thomas Schutz, senior vice president and general manager of Experian Data Quality.
Coupled with those organizational hurdles are the increasingly complex demands of analytics users within organizations, who say they are limited by existing data tools. According to May 2017 data from Interana, for example, roughly 43% of analytics users said existing solutions are not flexible enough to meet their needs.
But even more than technology advances, the executives surveyed by Experian expressed concern about security: Fully 63% of them said “improving data security” would be a key challenge in the coming years.
The survey results are prophetic. The executives were surveyed in June 2017, and the report was published in August—about a month before the widely reported data breach at Equifax, which exposed the personal information, including social security numbers, of some 143 million Americans.
The Experian report acknowledged that data-focused executives face an inherent tension in balancing the need to safeguard information “while also delivering on data innovation.”
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