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Scott Taylor

Scott Taylor

Data Evangelism As-a-Service | Author | Event Host & Speaker | Data Management Storytelling | Strategic Adviser

Scott Taylor, has helped countless companies by enlightening business executives to the strategic value of proper data management. He focuses on business alignment and the “strategic WHY” rather than system implementation and the “technical HOW.” As Principal Consultant for MetaMeta Consulting, he helps enterprises and tech brands tell their data story.

An avid business evangelist and original thinker, he continually shares his passion data through industry events, public speaking opportunities, blogs, videos, whitepapers, podcasts, cartoons, puppets shows, and all forms of thought leadership. His book – TELLING YOUR DATA STORY: Data Storytelling for Data Management is available now.

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

I came to data management through my marketing, sales, and strategy work representing data providers. I started off by selling data content to CPG manufacturers, then expanded to media, finance, and other sectors. My career journey gave me an opportunity to engage with every type of enterprise, in every sector, at every level of maturity across the world.  I realized that foundational data issues plague all companies. Their challenges, struggles, and aspirations, while not identical, are certainly more the same than they are different.

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

One of my early successes was leading the branding and go-to-market strategy of a location information service at Nielsen called TDLinx.  We established a “common language” for retail and restaurant identification through licensing syndicated location data and became a de facto standard across the CPG manufacturing ecosystem. This work led me into the MDM and data management space (before MDM was even a defined and recognized discipline).  TDLinx succeeded in large part because the value story made sense to both IT and business professionals. Although it was based on a 30-year-old business at the time, I gave it new life through business storytelling.

One of my latest accomplishments was the publication of TELLING YOUR DATA STORY: Data Storytelling for Data Management.  It is a practical guide to selling-in data management programs. I am determined to help the data management community articulate the business value of their work, so they get the funding, support, and engagement they deserve.  Data management is often over-shadowed and even trivialized in contrast to business intelligence, data science, and analytics. Yet, without data management, nothing in technology can scale.

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

You can boil my entire philosophy down to three words – TRUTH before MEANING. You must determine the truth in data before you derive meaning. For more context, I see two big buckets in the broader data space: data management – determining the TRUTH and business intelligence – deriving MEANING. The activities around data management ensure data is trustworthy for an organization: data governance, data quality, data catalogs, business glossaries, master data, reference data, metadata, MDM, RDM, and PIM. This is where you determine the TRUTH. Business intelligence, analytics, and the extended capabilities such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science, and data visualization, focus on making data more useful for an organization. This is where you derive MEANING.

Another major challenge facing data management professionals is the language we use to describe our efforts.  The entire data space is rife with confusing, buzzy, jargon-filled terminology.  Data leaders must create a compelling narrative to evangelize data programs and secure long-term support from business leadership. Data leaders must be fluent in business language. But the way we talk about it is hampering progress.

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

The value of every digitally transformative customer initiative, every as-a-service offering, every foray into e-commerce, every data science algorithm, every enterprise software implementation is inextricably linked to the successful output of data governance efforts. That’s the longest version of GIGO I could come up with.

It is the same with Metaverse, Web 3.0, The 4th Industrial Revolution, and every other new technology-based development to come.  Bring me any “new” business initiative and I will show you why strategically managed, expertly stewarded, well-governed data is mandatory for its success.

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

I will continue to develop and distribute entertaining, informative, and inspirational content to support efforts to elevate data management to its rightful spot on the strategic agenda of every enterprise. Data management should be viewed as a core discipline for every enterprise like finance, marketing, operations, and legal.

Specifically, you can expect more keynotes, videos, cartoons, puppets, and humorous content about the struggles and successes in enterprise data management.

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?

“Do something, because now you have nothing, and once you do something, you will have something.” This advice was given to me early in my career and I still get inspired by its binary simplicity. We often spend endless hours pondering our first move. But whether it’s writing a blog, or changing your career, you must at some point act or nothing will happen.

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

I often kayak in Black Rock harbor. I am an amateur astronomer and know my way around the night sky. I can also juggle pins and blow a square bubble.

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