James Governor's Monkchips

Changing roles in data transformation – data hunters, CDOs, and CDPOs

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Technology adoption waves create new roles, organisations and responsibilities. Competitive advantage comes from building great experiences for customers, partners and citizens. This competitive advantage is sustained by taking advantage of data gleaned in delivering experiences and services, in order to establish and deepen data moats. The magic troika is better software development, effective data management and analysis, with great customer experiences.
My business partner Stephen O’Grady wrote about the the first of these two trends in his two excellent books – New Kingmakers and The Software Paradox.
The growing importance of data to businesses is not surprising. I wrote last year that Data Transformation is the new Digital Transformation. That said, we’ve only just gotten used to CDO standing for Chief Digital Officer, driving digital strategy at board level, and now we’re seeing many organisations appoint a Chief Data Officer (CDO natch). The new role has has it’s obligatory conference. Companies including HSBC, Southern Water, and Allianz now have someone on the board tasked with getting the most out of data.
As I wrote in that post the HortonWorks installed base is a rich source of signal for new roles in IT, and processes and methods for Data Transformation. The company’s DataWorks Summit in April was excellent in that respect. Munich Re One of the customers impressed me in the day one keynote. Having created a data lake for its actuarial data scientists to use, it found new roles were needed to help everyone get the best out of it.
Not all data comes from inside the organisation. Andreas Kohlmaier, Munich Re head of data engineering, described how the company created a Data Hunting team, looking for potential data sets inside and outside the company to improve results for business. Data Hunter- Best. job. title. ever. Munich Re embarked on a systematic internal training program in data engineering and data science, training 2000 people this year, helping practitioners understand what is the right algorithm for a particular problem space, when they should use linear regression for example.
Getting the most out of data is of course only half of the problem – with GDPR coming into force this month the need for better data governance and protection is also growing. It’s going to make sense for companies to appoint Chief Data Protection Officers (CDPOs). CDOs and CDPOs should be separate roles given the different reporting lines and goals. Because of the potential for huge fines data protection is a board level issue – the fine for a major breach under GDPR could amount to 4% of global turnover. CDPOs and CDOs will need to work closely together, but with different reporting lines and staffs. Data stewards will work for CDPOs, while data engineers, data scientists and front end people will report to the CDO.
I have a follow up interview with Munich Re while will be published shortly. I am very interested to hear about new roles in data management – please let me know if you have any context there, and or leave a comment below.
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Hortonworks is not a client but covered my T&E to attend the event

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