Chief Data and Analytics Officer | Consulting Director | Instructor | Data Evangelist
A data evangelist and practical hands-on leader. Held a series of senior data roles and have delivered data transformations, built data teams and data operating models, and have a track record of innovation and leadership. A specialist in data strategy, data maturity, data literacy, data analytics, data tools, data science, and data governance. Because of this experience, I am a sought-after speaker on the international circuit, and I am regularly published and interviewed about data and innovation.
Co-author of three bestselling ‘data’ books:
‘The Chief Data Officer’s Playbook’ (1st & 2nd editions)
‘Data Driven Business Transformation’
Co-founder of the CDO Summer School which now has 900+ international alumni
What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?
Fascinated by data and patterns and incurably inquisitive. I found that I had an aptitude for coding and application /database development and was fascinated by building things and making data come alive. The turning point for me was when I realized that the value was in the data and not in the platform.
What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?
I have been lucky enough to have several. Writing the first edition of the ‘Chief Data Officer’s Playbook’ was massively significant for my career both as a CDO but also as a thought leader in data. The second was the creation of the CDO Summer School which has enabled me to ‘give back’ to the data community. Third, the role of Group Director Data Science at Legal and General which allowed me to evangelise data and data science across a global financial service corporation.
What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?
Legacy infrastructure environments that were not built for good data management and certainly not for analytics. The solution is to find a low-risk methodology for updating the infrastructure at the same time as building out a data analytics infrastructure.
Lack of good data governance. The solution is to rapidly build out the data ownership and a data governance framework and then to build data catalogues, data dictionaries, and data lineage around the critical data elements (CDEs)
A low level of data maturity and a powerful data culture. Create a wide-ranging data strategy that addresses people, technology, processes and data.
How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?
The CDO is going to become more influential in many organisations as they become aware of the challenges they face and the opportunities that they could exploit. They need a CDO to lead the data management transformation required and then to deliver the advanced analytics / ML.
Do you have any planned next steps for your career?
I have moved to the ‘vendor’ side because I believe that organisations are not addressing the necessity of building a data analytics infrastructure and often do not know how to fully use the technology that they have procured. I want to see Carruthers and Jackson continue to grow to drive thought leadership in data forward and to bring together the data community.
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?
Be resilient and be engaging. CDOs are agents of change and that can be tough
Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?
I love swimming and I have been in a TV commercial
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