Affiliated with:

George Firican

George Firican

Founder of and LightsOnData YouTube Channel

Award winning Data Governance & Business Intelligence leader | Public Speaker | Founder. Focused on providing informative content such as ONLINE COURSES, templates, guides, best practices, articles, white papers, and other useful resources to help you with your data governance and data management questions and challenges. International key note speaker, conference speaker, and panelist (spoken at over 30 different conferences). Co-Host of Lights On Data Show – a LinkedIn Live weekly show that provides insights into the data world and showcases people that help to shape it.

What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?

I first started working as a software and web developer and as I was building applications that relied on databases I started to appreciate the importance of data management. When I made a shift into business analysis and project management that appreciation for data management and data governance started to grow. I could see first hand what happened when organizations did or didn’t pay attention to these areas so this is a field that I wanted to become proficient in as I felt it could help me make a difference.

What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?

There are a lot of accomplishments that come through my mind and even though they differ from one another, they all rely on the amazing people who I get to work with on a daily basis.

This might not be my greatest career accomplishment, but it’s one of my first in my data governance career. It’s when my team and I won a Best Practices Award for our Data Governance program from the Council of Advancement and Support of Education. Getting that external recognition provided even more fuel and passion to pump into this program and it definitely gave me a jolt of happiness for putting my passion into data management. In the end it propelled me to found

What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?

Not necessarily in this order, but I would have to list “getting buy-in from business leaders” and “managing change”. Within data governance in particular, but other data management areas as well, I feel that we always need to get a business case ready, we always need to secure sponsorship and funding and always prove that the organization should invest in these areas. Yes, this happens in other parts of the organization, but in data management it feels that you always start at zero or even below that. Even when organizations say they want to be data driven, it still feels it’s a constant uphill battle to get its support to start treating and managing data as an asset.

As for managing change, it’s something constant that CDOs need to handle. From the moment a data management project or program is thought of until after it has been implemented and deployed. Change is constant, but if we don’t adopt change management practices, we risk to gain adoption from our stakeholders… and that’s what I feel a lot of us in the data management/governance field struggle with.

My advice for best tackling these challenges is to always tie it back to the business goals, and also to the goals and issues of the business unit or individual that you’re addressing. Always dial into the WII FM: What’s In It For Me.

How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?

As data is becoming more intertwined with the success of a business, I think that the role of the CDO will be encountered more in different organizations. Similarly, with the CDS (Chief Data Scientist). They will both foster that relationship and interdependency between themselves and the CIO role.

I think there is also no surprise that AI/ML will play a bigger role in data management areas such as data warehousing, data integration, metadata management, data security, and so on.

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

I aim to continue learning while giving back to the data community through my online courses, videos, podcasts and so on, so we will see where that will take me.

What is the single best piece of advice you have received in your data management / IT career so far?  Why has it been so important to you?

That in the end data management is not so much about data, but about people. I think we tend to forget the human element in all of this so that advice always helps me stay grounded to the needs that we’re trying to address through data management and who we’re addressing it for.

Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?

I used to do travel vlogs and videos. Though I stopped doing that, I just shifted the passion I had for filming and video editing into my data management and data governance videos.

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