The continuing boom in big data will lead to 25 per cent of large organisations appointing chief data officers (CDOs) within the next year, according to the research firm Gartner.
Debra Logan, research vice president at Gartner, claims that the number of CDOs serving in large organisations has doubled since 2012 and will continue to rise as the need to understand data increases.
Research by the firm suggests that there are CDOs operating in over a dozen countries now, most commonly in heavily regulated industries, media and government.
Logan believes that CDOs should integrate with existing chief information officers (CIOs) within firms, taking on the ever-expanding role of managing data in order to allow CIOs to focus on "the more-than-full time job" that they already have.
"CIOs should view the CDO as a peer and partner who can manage data and who has the knowledge, background and skills to do so," Logan said.
The emergence of this new role has so far attracted double the proportion of women compared to that of CIO, with the majority of positions available within the US.
The actual role of CDO, according to Logan, is not about "owning" the data, but managing it.
"(CDOs) may own key processes around the data and be 'in charge' of some data - for example master data," Logan said. "The CDO owns a few things, but coordinates the use of data in other places.
"This is exactly like a CFO, who owns a few financial processes, like consolidation and treasury, but other than that coordinates the use of capital throughout the organization."
The Gartner Enterprise Information & Master Data Management 2014 will be taking place in London in March.