This chapter is about managing expectations and describing the features of the Gartner hype cycle. It also explores an approach to the DIKW (Data – Information – Knowledge – Wisdom) pyramid and how to deliver early incremental value to the business in a strategic context.
The Trough of Disillusionment
We have previously talked about the issue of the ‘hype cycle’ when discussing the ability of the new CDO to shift between the tactical and the strategic. The hype cycle is a Gartner tool to represent the maturity, adoption and social application of specific technologies. It claims to provide a graphical and conceptual presentation of the maturity of emerging technologies through five phases: technology trigger, peak of inflated expectations, trough of disillusionment, slope of enlighten ment, plateau of productivity. It has been criticised, not least for not being a cycle:
The Gartner hype cycle has been criticised for a lack of evidence that it holds, and for not matching well with technological uptake in practice.(Wikipedia, March 2020)
However, the idea can also help us to understand the challenges facing a new CDO, and to frame the first 100 days and beyond.
Currently, the CDO role is relatively new in many organisations, and, even if it is not, the CDO will arrive into an atmosphere of great expectation. There will be common sentiments that will greet you: ‘the business will be transformed into a data-driven business, an organisation capable of making better and more informed decisions based on data; data science will bring the business better insight into its customers and operations; the new CDO will bring big data’. The organisation's data risks, on the enterprise risk register, may even list the arrival of the new CDO as the mitigation.
There will be great expectations about the arrival of the CDO; there will also, in most cases, be a lot of goodwill and enthusiasm in the business for data success. One of the biggest threats to you – certainly in the first 24 months or first 1½ financial years – is the Trough of Disillusionment in the hype cycle.