Data Quality | Data Analytics | Data Management
Michael has dedicated many years to his data and analytics career. Spanning such skills as evaluating business data needs and issues, defining data strategies and approaches aligned with business objectives, building data teams and processes, driving designs and development of value-driven data and analytic solutions, establishing strategic partnerships with business and leadership teams, and positioning corporations for rapid business growth and cost savings via the effective management and utilization of data and analytics.
What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?
During my undergraduate years, I quickly discovered that any course inkling about the subject of data structures piqued my interest, more so than any other computer science topic. My interest in data was reaffirmed during my job as a client/server developer where I naturally gravitated to server-side (databases) programming instead of the client-side. So, when I was presented with an opportunity to join a data warehousing team at E*TRADE Financial in 1999, I dove headfirst into the data management career path.
What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?
My greatest career accomplishment started as a major failure. While designing and building a quarterly account fee process that would generate $16MM in revenue per quarter, I took it on faith that the 12 data sources used to produce the aggregated results were properly governed and quality managed. I was wrong and the initial application release resulted in thousands of customer complaints and credits. I quickly learned I had to establish data governance, stewardship, and quality for all 12 input data sources to ensure the application’s effectiveness. Once data governance and management controls were established, the application had an accuracy rate of 99.5%. This failure and then success was an integral step in setting me on the path of championing effective and efficient data governance and management controls for data throughout its life cycle as it flows through critical business processes.
What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?
Business ownership of data
I am convinced that one of the major challenges that hamper the establishment of effective and persistent data management capabilities is in the struggle to convince the business they are the ultimate owners of data and analytics. This can be rectified by ensuring all data initiatives have a clear line of sight to business goals/objectives. Alignment to business objectives invariably establishes business engagement and ownership with data initiatives.
Systematic assessing and scoring data quality
Data Quality Management (DQM) is a continual process, but experience has shown me DQM is usually viewed as a series of ad hoc projects, not a perpetual program. We have to make DQM real for the business by simplifying messages and results to speak the business’ language of: growth, risk avoidance, cost savings, and competitive advantages.
Making data management and governance interesting for non-data professionals
For non-data professionals, data can be dull. It’s up to us to find creative methods to engage and energize our business, operations, and IT partners. I have found the most effective method is to tell the data’s story by making data personal for all involved parties. The slogan “the data speaks for itself” isn’t effective without effective data storytelling.
How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the
next 2 – 3 years?
In the next 2 to 3 years and beyond, I see a defined line of demarcation established between IT and CDO/DM organizations. In the past, data has either resided in the business or IT. In the future, I see the CDO role becoming a quasi-business role that sits in between IT and the business. I also envision AI/ML as the next frontier for DM by utilizing AI/ML to automate many data profiling, monitoring, and corrective action tasks that are laborious/costly today.
Do you have any planned next steps for your career?
At this point in my career, I place a premium on focusing on the present moment. My current role in the digital transformation of manufacturing data, analytics, and governance is fulfilling me in ways I didn’t believe possible. My role is challenging me to learn/apply novel data concepts and lead with a growth mindset. I am excited to see where this transformation journey leads me and will enjoy every moment of this learning experience.
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?
The best advice I have received is: “Don’t attempt to boil the data and analytics ocean. Focus on what’s important to the business and stay away from everything else”. This advice has helped me see the forest for the trees in determining what data challenges and needs require the most attention because they have a tangible impact on the business.
Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?
I am an avid martial arts student who has obtained my 3rd-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, and my Kindle eReader goes just about everywhere I go. Also, I sometimes spend too much time and money trying to replicate restaurant dishes I love, at home, with varying degrees of success.
If you have any questions about this interview, or if we can be of any service, please do not hesitate to contact us [email protected]