Chief Data Strategy Officer
Much like a roller coaster, 2020 was full of many loops, twists, and turns. From accelerated digital transformations to expedited migrations to the cloud, you were asked to do it all— often with far less time and resources. Through it all, The Data Chief was right there with you, along for the unprecedented ride.
From the beginning this podcast had a vision: To bring you learnings and best practices from the brightest minds in our industry to help you all become better data stewards. On this episode of The Data Chief, we look back at some of the key themes from season one, including the rise of the CDO, the intricacies of aligning your department’s goals with that of the businesses, and how you coped with accelerated timelines. While we relive these important conversations, we also discuss why culture and data fluency continue to be the biggest hurdles to becoming a truly data-driven business.
More CDOs will realize that it's untenable to focus on things like data architecture and governance, and too hard to show progress. So they will shift much more toward being Chief Data and Analytics Officers, which is much easier to show value.
- Tom Davenport, Professor of Information Technology and Management, Babson College
Data is a lifeline of the organizations, and any organizations to understand how to leverage data...Organizations that understand how to monetize data, will be able to get ahead of the competitions through their digital transformations. Being able to see how that [Data] is impacting change in the business, and helping us to be able to make the right decisions when we are placing an order, or when we are quoting a particular component to a customer, could mean making a profit or making a loss.
- Max Chan, CIO, Avnet
The pace of change in our field is crazy. Things are changing very, very rapidly, driven in large part by data volumes growing, and the need for data freshness to grow, and the need to embed analytics into business processes and the importance of cloud. With so much change, you really have to keep abreast of it and really understand what the most innovative companies are doing in this space.
- Sully McConnel, CDO, The Hartford
Our goal is very clear: free up time and free up people. That was our goal. So that's number one. If we want to achieve that goal, what are some of the tools that are available that we can get the right infrastructure with the data, the research, the analytics, knowledge management all put together to accomplish that? And so we basically do a lot of testing and assessment with these organizations [to make the right choice].
- Gustavo Canton, Analytics Leader, Starbucks
Once the top of the organization understands what can be done, then it’s really important to take everyone with you on this journey. It’s about communicating [and] engaging, because I also feel that there’s lots of fear mongering. If you mention the word “A.I.,” people become scared about their jobs, and the change that this might bring. It is really important that you actually put the people into the driver’s seat and say, ‘Okay, let’s use this technology to make your jobs better. Let’s make our services better, our product better — and in the end, our company more successful.
I started to realize that my data literacy was at 90 percent, whereas the other individual’s data literacy, and the practices around understanding data— how it transforms through systems and then shows up for the consumer to use it, we’re on two different ends of the spectrum. My job was to educate, to inform, and to bring them along the journey, as was it to learn and to listen more than I speak. And I always have to throttle that in order to be effective.
- Stephen Harris, Corporate Vice President of Cloud, A.I. and Business, Microsoft
Cindi Howson is an analytics and BI expert with 20-plus years’ experience and a flair for bridging business needs with technology. Cindi was previously a Gartner Vice President in data and analytics, lead author of the Analytics and BI Magic Quadrant, data and analytics maturity model, as well as research in data and AI for good, NLP/BI Search, and augmented analytics. She introduced the BI bake-offs and innovation panels at Gartner events globally and is a popular keynote speaker. Prior to this, she was the founder of BI Scorecard, a resource for in-depth product reviews based on exclusive hands-on testing, a contributor to Information Week, and the author of several books including Successful Business Intelligence: Unlock the Value of BI & Big Data and SAP BusinessObjects BI 4.0: The Complete Reference. She served as The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) faculty member for more than a decade. Prior to founding BI Scorecard, Howson was a manager at Deloitte & Touche and a BI standards leader for Dow Chemical. She has an MBA from Rice University and a BA from the University of Maryland.