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Peggy Tsai img

Peggy Tsai

Data Protection and Data Governance Expert | Adjunct Faculty Instructor | Top 50 Women in Tech | Co-author of “The AI Book” | Data Podcaster | Tech Start-up Advisor

Peggy is currently responsible for driving data strategy and product development at BigID, the data intelligence platform that enables organizations to know their enterprise data and take action for privacy, security, and governance.

She is experienced in strategically designing and implementing enterprise data management programs in the financial services and insurance industries with hands-on expertise in regulatory compliance programs including BCBS 239, Solvency II and General Data Protection Regulation. Peggy also focuses on elevating data governance programs with new innovative technology specifically machine learning and artificial intelligence. She is passionate about sharing innovative technology ideas by mentoring, speaking at student clubs and organizing events through Women in Technology groups.

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

Early on in my career, I landed a job in data operations which rolled up into a Data Center of Excellence group. I was attracted to the analytical and problem-solving nature of the data analyst role. I was given multiple data sets and I was asked to identify anomalies and write up an analysis of the data. I chose to stay in the data management field because I enjoyed collaborating with business and data teams to solve their data issues with technology. My favorite moments involved sitting around a table across from a cross-functional team while strategizing and planning the project.

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

My greatest career accomplishment has been adjacent to my professional career in data management. In fact, it is an accomplishment that has helped me lead a more meaningful professional career and that is my time to support the diversity and inclusion of women and Asians in the technology field. In my professional career, I have held multiple leadership roles in employee resource groups to support and mentor women to gain skills to grow their careers. I have advised and helped place young professionals in data roles. Currently I choose to remain active in the EDM Council Women Data Professionals Forum and the Women Leaders in Data & Analytics groups because it helps me stay connected and make an impact in the data industry.

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

The biggest challenges that I see CDOs facing today are two sides of the same coin. On one hand, they have challenges with getting the funding and internal support to execute on a strategic enterprise data program but at the same time, they have problems with specifically outlining the roadmap for delivering on this data program. Another challenge is the fact that CDOs are being asked to solve too many problems for their business partners that it becomes a technological scope creep that becomes unmanageable. Some ways to address this problem is to clearly identify the business problems that need to be solved and then quantify the expected outcomes for each specific time period.

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

The role of the CDO will continue to grow and evolve as it has in the last 5 years. The CDO will be expected to play a bigger role in the decision-making for the organization. Perhaps in large enterprises, multiple types of CDOs will emerge where they branch off and specialize in more strategic vs tactical in execution roles.  The expectation of the traditional CDO will continue to be to “do more with less” therefore pushing forth an increase in the use of augmented ML/AI to the traditional data management activities.

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

I have never made plans for next steps in my career as I do not believe in being locked into specific goals. I am guided by opportunities that are presented my way but at the same time, I am generally driven to seek new challenges that allow me to gain new experiences and stretch my boundaries. I recently started embarking on a new path that includes writing, teaching and podcasting in data management which I would like to continue however I am open to finding new challenges where my skills in data management will be valued.

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 single best piece of advice that I received in my data management career so far is to always communicate and execute on an end-to-end solution for a small domain before scaling out to an enterprise. Oftentimes as a data practitioner, I was in a capacity where I had to demonstrate the value of new solutions or processes. My effectiveness to socialize new concepts involved creating new environments with enriched datasets and explaining the ROI to the organization. This has been important to me because I have followed this advice in different teams where it was always a challenge to evangelize the team to support a new data process or technology.

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

Most people don’t know that I actually dislike public speaking, but I force myself to do them in recent years so that I can improve on my weakness. Up until a two years ago, I would get sweaty palms and major heart palpitations whenever I was waiting for my turn to speak. I literally could hear my heart pound as I spoke in front of a group. But then I found myself enjoying the experience of public speaking so I practiced on improving this skill so that I could become a better public speaker!

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