After a year of disruption, a lot has changed across enterprises. These organizations have accelerated digital transformations, moved more operations to the cloud, and relocated more workers from offices to home offices. The way enterprises think of Data, Business Intelligence, and analytics centers of excellence has evolved over the last year.

Relying on Data

So much of analytics requires one to collate and analyze data about past events and predict the future. But because 2020 was not like any other year, organizations could not rely on past data to predict the future. It also was not a year that necessarily provided data that could forecast trends beyond the year 2020, either. That brings to mind an ongoing conflict for many organizations — the data that they hold versus the data that would is the most crucial to them. These two things need not always be the same. Businesses have questions, and those questions are often prejudiced by where the organization needs to go? Such questions are scenario-based and futuristic.

But often the data and data strategy that many organizations have conventionally employed is about collating data from the past — what has already happened. Yet, a new focus for data strategies with importance on predictive analytics has put more attention on the importance of data scientists in organizations. These professionals can now move beyond the data that has been collected and managed by the organization. Data scientists work with derivative data and generating data, too. Such a shift means organizations are also putting greater focus on ML and other forms of Artificial Intelligence.

Prominence on Data Scientists

Data is critical to help businesses pivot; however, in a challenging year like 2020, organizations could not have relied on the past data. A lot of the questions organizations had, were around scenarios, simulations, predictive analytics, Machine Learning, and modeling techniques. That changes the entire role of a data scientist. This has led to an essential role for Chief Data Officers (CDOs). 

CDOs are turning more value-centric in terms of how they make their data strategies and the IT organization and CIOs are more focused on the infrastructure for managing the data. 

Watching the CIO and CDO roles work together — or not — is an interesting thing to see in many organizations. While the CDO has been an emerging role over the past decade, it has not really gained that much importance up until now and that seems to be changing. The reporting structure does vary and if the CIO and CDO are peers, that says something in and of itself. Another big change in the past year is the move of data analytics work from on-premises operations to the cloud.


The changes of the past year are only the beginning of a new era where data analytics takes a pivotal role in organizations and in the public eye. This is because data became so crucial during the pandemic year. When one begins to think about the degree to which governments and the media used data — it became the main element of communication. There is bound to be an explosion in the use and role of analytics and data as a key mechanism of communication.