Some 90 per cent of large organisations are expected to hire a chief data officer (CDO) by 2019, a new study has suggested.

Research from Gartner indicates that increased efforts to drive competitive advantage and better efficiency through improved information assets is expected to result in a rise in the number of CDOs by the end of 2019.

These personnel are expected to face a number of challenges, with the organisation predicting that just 50 per cent will be successful by the end of 2019. A particular difficulty is that the role will be new in most organisations and many new CDOs will be developing their skills on the job.

They will also face the difficult task of creating an information strategy with appropriate metrics that connect their team’s activities to measurable business outcomes.

Mario Faria, research vice president at Gartner, said: "Business leaders are starting to grasp the huge potential of digital business, and demanding a better return on their organisations' information assets and use of analytics.

"It's a logical step to create an executive position – the CDO – to handle the many opportunities and responsibilities that arise from industrial-scale collection and harnessing of data."

Many CDOs already report high levels of change resistance, especially from IT departments regarding the control of information assets and how they are governed.

On the other hand, successful CDOs are working closely with chief information officers (CIO) to persuade professionals to adopt the new ways of working.

Mr Faria explained that it is important that companies account for the soft skills required in CDO roles, as their success in the position will be dictated by how they can gain the support of business leaders.