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Blog > June 2020 > CDO Series: Talking Data Maturity with the Sharks

CDO Series: Talking Data Maturity with the Sharks

This is the fourth and final post of my four-part CDO blog series.

The road to Data Maturity is a cultural journey, one that requires all cylinders to fire together. If you’re not impacting the culture of the organization, you’re not transforming the business and may want to consider emulating what your data leader peers are doing.

In a recent ASG data leader roundtable, current data intelligence leaders met with our pre-sales clients. We asked our new clients, “What is top of mind for you today? What questions do you have for these seasoned data leaders?

Below were the most common questions:

  • We have pockets of well managed data, but how do we effectively break down the silos to roll out changes enterprise-wide?
  • How do you navigate through a diverse technological landscape?
  • How do you maximize value while minimizing resources and daily disruptions to work?
  • How do I get everyone to believe in “what is possible”?

The group facilitators were CDOs and data governance leaders with up to 20 years of experience managing successful data transformation programs at Fortune 100 corporations: Scott Peachey, Jim Tyo, and Mark Nance. Here is some of their advice:

  • Technology – Technology will help you leap forward in your Data Maturity. However, you must understand the capability you want to drive and the business results that you want to achieve. Then, look for a Data Management solution to support that effort.
  • Data Strategy Break down your data challenges and systematically walk through them.  Examples include eradicating data bloat domain by domain, identifying key business processes and aligning them to their critical data elements.
    • Start with one area, get really good at it and then branch out. There are many features and information supply chains to pinpoint when you look at data from an enterprise perspective. Doing too much too fast can have the opposite effect.  This was a lesson learned from one of CDOs.
  • Executive Support Sponsorship must come from the top. At a recent Data Governance day with 800+ employees, our CDO reported that the CEO began the meeting with “Data is the lifeblood of our organization.”  If data is a top asset in your organization, it should be owned from the top as well.
  • Relationship Development Develop great partnerships. The CDOs in these sessions had excellent meeting cadences with the heads of their legal, risk, security, marketing, etc., teams. These data leaders knew what data was the most at risk from exposure and what data was used to disrupt across the organization.
  • Centralization – Provide one “de facto” place to go for all the information about the data. This repository should have glossaries, data catalogs, data lineage, etc.

What I’ve observed in working with these experienced data leaders is that they treat data transformation as cultural – if they’re not disrupting business as usual, they’re not transforming. 

Of course, this doesn’t equate to adding a series of new business processes to follow.  Automation is key. Automation may not apply to everything, but these leaders are confident that their data is being managed in a cost-efficient way and not relying solely on subject matter experts and spreadsheets.

The session wrapped up suitably with a summarizing quote from our moderator, Paul Muller: 

“By going slow and putting in rigor and governance while people see it as an inhibiter, you’ve now liberated the organization and invoked innovation.”


This concludes my CDO series – take a look back at the previous blogs below.