Affiliated with:

Peter Youngs

Peter Youngs

Consultant | Data Management Capability Assessment Model (DCAM) Expert | Enterprise Architect

Peter is the Managing Partner at Ortecha, the boutique consultancy dedicated to helping companies manage their data. Ortecha is a firm of data practitioners who collaborate with clients across the full spectrum of data management, from data strategy and data governance to data architecture and data quality, with a focus on the business outcomes that can help their clients achieve by better managing their data.

Before founding Ortecha, he was an Oracle Developer and Enterprise Data Architect with a passion for high-quality design that delivered sustainable solutions.

Peter lives in Hertfordshire, just outside London in the UK, with his wife, two children, and Woody the dog.

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

I’ve worked with data ever since completing my master’s degree in Computer Science. I joined a consulting firm after university, who fast tracked me on an Oracle database developer stream, where I learned SQL and database coding and never looked back! I have moved beyond data architecture into wider data management strategy and advisory work, but I still enjoy getting stuck into a data model and really enjoy solving our clients’ problems. I love that data is so important to every one of us and every company and relish the thought of helping people get more out of their data.

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

It has to be our achievements with Ortecha. We’ve organically grown an amazing boutique consultancy, with offices in the UK and USA, and clients across the UK, Europe, and USA. I deliberately say “our achievements” as it’s my greatest career accomplishment but it’s only due to having a brilliant team around me that this has been possible. It is important to my career as it has allowed me to see such a broad range of data-related problems and solutions that I don’t think I would ever have experienced, and learnt from, outside of a small consulting firm.

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

Two areas spring to mind.

One is the business ownership of data. We continuously bump into the issue that data is a technology problem. It is not, it is a business problem! Every business needs and uses data. Technology is there to help us automate business processes to do more than we can manually and provide solutions that push our business forward. The businesspeople own the data and need to be educated on how they should manage and nurture it. It is understandable as businesspeople are businesspeople, they aren’t necessarily data people, so we need to help them understand what they should, and shouldn’t do to realise huge value from their data.

The other is that every data practitioner will tell you something different to the next. In general, we don’t define best practices well enough and standardise how we do data management. If we did, the business ownership issue (and many others) would be easier to solve as there would be greater clarity on how to best manage data. I would love to see some of the key people in data come together to define data management best practice, including the EDM Council (as one of the key players), to drive standardized ways of working and solutions that benefit everyone. I stand ready and waiting to support best practice initiatives (and will endeavor to push them forward alone if I need to!).

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

It’s all about analytics and culture. In your own world/company it may be advanced analytics using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) or it may be simpler, more traditional, business intelligence (BI). Whatever type of analytics fits with your company, you need to get started now. You need to strive to become a data-driven organisation. But to do this you need an underpinning of data management capability and culture that allows you to focus on realising valuable business outcomes using analytics, rather than spending most of your time data wrangling. That Gartner 80/20 data wrangling rule is, unfortunately, very much still with us in many companies. I’d like to see this flip to 20/80 with minimal wrangling (it’ll never be zero!) allowing a focus on analytics that truly solves business problems and enables business innovation.

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

I always say that we have unfinished business in Ortecha. I want us to be able to take a client on a journey that shows them where they are today (with whatever level of data management capability they have) and then show them what an improved level of capability provides and partner with them to help them get there to meet their business goals on data. And I don’t just mean on paper, I mean in a lab-style environment that brings to life what best practice data management allows the client to do. I want them to see what a difference it will make to them and believe in what we’re showing them. It’ll mean even stronger relationships with our clients, even more enjoyable and fruitful work for our Ortecha team and loads of fun along the way.

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?

It’s not data management related, it’s more general advice but it has stayed with me from early on in my career. One of my former bosses, Tim Handel, simply told me to “manage expectations”. It is so simple yet so important in everything I do. If I am successfully managing expectations then our clients really know what they will get, and they will be happy with what we deliver, our Ortecha team will have a clearer view of what needs to be done and when, and, in general, things just work out better for everyone involved!

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

I have high pitch hearing loss. If I don’t shut the fridge door properly, I can’t hear the warning beep, nor can I hear the washing machine beep when it finishes! Some of the Ortecha team probably know about this but not many other people do. No cause has ever been diagnosed and I’ve been living with it for many years now. It’s inconvenient in some noisy situations, or when people don’t enunciate, as I can’t always clearly hear what people say but it’s not a big deal. One positive thing from the Coronavirus pandemic was working remotely using video conferencing as I can turn up the volume on my headset and always hear people more clearly. I’ve tried hearing aids many years ago, but they didn’t make a material difference. Saying this I’m thinking that technology has probably moved on and I should give them another go!

If you have any questions about this interview, or if we can be of any service, please do not hesitate to contact us

© Since 1997 to the present – Enterprise Warehousing Solutions, Inc. (EWSolutions). All Rights Reserved