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Sowmya Tejha Kandregula

Sowmya Tejha Kandregula

Chairman – IJMRA | Advisory Board Member – ADCG | Author | Mentor | Data Governance Leader | Data Privacy Expert | Data Catalog SME | Collibra Ranger

Sowmya Kandregula is a seasoned Data Management professional with over 14 years of experience in Data Governance, Data Privacy, Data Security, Regulatory Compliance, Financial Risk Management, Metadata Management, Master Data Management, Service Management & Agile Project Management. Sowmya’s proficiency is developing cohesive solutions for large and complex projects spanning multiple divisions and/or platforms.

Sowmya has a wealth of knowledge advocating about growing set of data demands including a changing landscape of privacy laws, increased movement of data onto the cloud, and a greater dependency on quality governed data for machine learning and AI solutions.

Sowmya recently awarded as the Information Technology Professional of the Year (2020) – Gold Winner within the Training and Development category by the Globee International Awards.

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

I am an Electronics & Communications engineering graduate. My foray into Information Technology (IT) space occurred when one of my friends referred me to a business/data analyst position with Bank of America. Although hesitant at first given my limited exposure to IT, I decided to give it a try. And the rest, as they say, is history.

I began my data management journey at Bank of America where I was responsible for conducting thorough analysis of data including systematically applying logical techniques to describe, illustrate, evaluate, and report data.

Since then, data management became a career, and I came across some wonderful opportunities within data governance/data privacy space across different geographies.

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

While working for one of the leading banks in the USA, I spearheaded an initiative wherein we were required to build an enterprise data governance platform in adherence to Basel Committee on Banking Supervision’s standard number 239.

This was a very demanding initiative given the stringent timelines and level of effort involved. Working (almost) single handedly, I was able to deliver the solution framework within stipulated time adhering to the quality standards. The client’s senior leadership presented me a certificate of excellence for my efforts.

Another high point in my career was appointment to the Association for Data and Cyber Governance as an advisory board member in April 2020.

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

I reckon the following to be the biggest challenges faced by a CDO:

  • Bringing data that is available across different silos under one umbrella would be the first challenge for any CDO. Using proper data governance tools and technologies would set the right direction for this endeavor.
  • As the “owner” of data within the organization, a CDO must lead the transformation path to a data-driven organization by inspiring a thought process about the economic value of data and its importance as the foundation of decision making.
  • Making the executive leadership understand that the return on investment (ROI) towards data governance initiatives may not be available immediately

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

With the corporate world moving towards a data driven decision making approach, the role of data will assume paramount importance for executive leadership who would be willing to invest opulently in data management and its supporting disciplines like data quality, data governance, and data privacy.

Folks who directly work with data – analysts, custodians, data officers will see their roles evolve and become pivotal in the next few years. I foresee data management emerging as a critical business area within an enterprise.

Do you have any planned next steps for your career?

I am very interested to explore the changing privacy landscape in lieu of legislations like California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR). Fortunately, my current engagement is providing me an opportunity to delve into this knowledge area.

Also, teaching has been a passion since my formative years. I have mentored over 2,000 folks across the world in data management through technology seminars, boot camps and career workshops. Once the pandemic situation is fully resolved, I wish to go full throttle in this direction as well.

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?

During my initial years in the data management field, one of my managers suggested that I should “exhibit an intellectual curiosity and change agility” to succeed in a dynamic field like data management.

With rapid advancements within data management from a perspective, one should be willing to learn and acclimate themselves with any changes that occur.

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

I had originally contemplated a career as a screen writer. As a matter of fact, I pitched a few scripts to leading production houses in India around 2010-11. One of my scripts got an approval to be shot as a series. I will probably pursue my creative goals after retiring from IT (smiles)…

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