DiscoverThe Data Chief
The Data Chief

The Data Chief

Author: ThoughtSpot

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Meet the world’s top data and analytics leaders transforming how we do business. Hear case studies, industry insights, and personal lessons from the executives leading the data revolution.

Join host Cindi Howson, Chief Data Strategy Officer at ThoughtSpot, every other Wednesday to meet the leaders and teams at the cutting edge.
96 Episodes
Key Moments: Leveraging Generative AI for work? Start by asking the right questions (04:13) What’s in store for the future world of work (18:18) How Generative AI can expand humans’ divergent thinking (26:16) Taking people and culture along the Generative AI journey (31:20) The value of diversity in data (42:00)A tale of mentorship (44:20)Key Quotes: “With Generative AI, now we have a command line interface that’s allowed us to converse, which is so core and essential to who we are as humans. The ability to be able to talk to one another. That's allowed us to survive for thousands and thousands of years and evolve.”“I think that there's a lot of greater potential in terms of expanding our own creativity and strategic thinking. So while humans have flexible and moldable brains and we have neuroplasticity that allows us to learn new things, we have to put ourselves in those environments. AI is really good at divergent thinking. So when we think about creativity, a core aspect of that is divergent thinking. What comes to mind when you think of a tree? Maybe leaves and fruit. Divergent thinking is thinking of all the outside things, like sunshine and soil, that may be associated with the tree or that tree growth. There's a lot more potential that we've yet to unlock in terms of updating our own thinking to expand our own divergent and creative thinking” “We know that when we have more diverse teams where everyone feels that they can speak up, and you get better ideas. You get more collaboration. So having that core vision of what is that culture and environment that you want to have is really key” Mentions: Women in DataHuman Machine Collaboration Institute Beyond AI Exposure: Which Tasks are Cost-Effective to Automate with Computer Vision?Dialect Prejudice Predicts AI Decisions About People’s Character, Employability, and CriminalityAWS: What Are AI Agents?Women in Data Climate Sustainability Datathon 2023 The Creative Way: A Way of BeingBio: Sadie St. Lawrence  is on a personal mission to create a more compassionate and connected world through technology. Having grown up on a farm in Iowa she witnessed first-hand how advancements in technology rapidly changed how we work and earn a living, which in turn affected the overall success of a community. In addition, Sadie was homeschooled her entire childhood which led to a unique perspective in self-directed learning approaches and out of the box thinking.Sadie holds a diverse education having degrees in piano performance, psychology, and data science, but at her core she has always been a teacher. In 2014 she transitioned from working in a neuroscience lab studying emotional learning and memory, to working in data science. During her time as a data scientist, she went on to lead data science teams and consult for Fortune 500 companies in AI. Through her work, she noticed that while many organizations and individuals have good intentions when it comes to D&I in data careers, there was a lack of progress.Today, Sadie’s work is focused on educating individuals in technology, increasing access and pathways for all people and creating a more equal future for all. Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
Key Moments:The voyage to a data-driven US Coast Guard (5:21)Navigating data-driven approaches to US Coast Guard operations (20:28) Balancing experience-based decision making with data-informed decision making (25:34)In whose data do you trust? (30:10) Measuring the value of data (33:80)Should an AI ethicist be part of the team or should everyone really be an ethicist? (45:00) Key Quotes:“Up until three years ago when we started this, some people – and really our entire organization –  just thought data as IT. They didn't think much past that, because no one had ever really challenged them to think about it. So it wasn't really thought of as, ‘this is the data that we have, and this is the commander's business. This is how the business is going to run. It's not just letting IT figure it out.’” “I think that technology has helped us along the way to visualize data that otherwise would be difficult and time consuming to conceptualize and understand. And as we continue to find ways to make humans understand better what it is that they're looking at – especially in extremely dynamic and complex data situations – I think you'll start to see a shift of trust and that's really experience. It's experience in using data informed decision making activities.” “Would an ethics, an AI ethics advisor to the CDAO be a great thing? Absolutely. Are we all just ethicists? Yes, but I would say that there is a lot of understanding needed. There's a huge area where you could be an expert in the ethics of artificial intelligence and provide sound guidance day after day. I would think that this particular type of employee would be extremely valuable.” Mentions:U.S. Coast Guard 11 Missions AI U.S. Executive Orders White House Orders Federal Agencies to Name Chief AI Officers America’s Cyber Defense AgencyMake Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life… And Maybe the World Bio: Captain Brian Erickson currently serves as the United States Coast Guard’s first Chief Data and Artificial Intelligence Officer and is principally responsible for the coordination of data and artificial intelligence activities across the organization. His previous assignments focused primarily on engineering and operations, serving at five operational assignments piloting rotary  and fixed wing aircraft performing search and rescue, law enforcement and other military mission profiles. Brian is a licensed Professional Engineer specializing in aerospace and also served in the Office of Budget and Programs working directly for the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). In 2020, he was selected as the Coast Guard’s MIT Sloan Fellow following service as Commanding Officer of Coast Guard Air Station Savannah, GA. Brian is a 1998 graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and holds a Master of Science degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University as well as a Master of Business Administration from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a 2022 DataIQ Top 100 most influential persons in data and the 2023 MachineCon AI Leader of the Year. Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
Tune in to learn:Make your business strategy a data strategy  (3:10)‘Cover my back’ approaches (09:00)Straddling risks in data and business (11:28)Learnings from implementing myGPT (16:18) Activating your organization’s collective genius (24:05)Creating the right processes and culture to breed AI success (31:00) The current state of AI regulation (38:35) Key Quotes: “You can have an AI strategy without a data strategy or without a business strategy, but it will not help you much. So your data strategy is your business strategy and vice versa. (04:42).“I would say we started with the collective genius or activating the collective genius. What we wanted to do is enable everybody to try things out and tell us what has the highest opportunity and possibility” (25:46)“We're now slowly going into a paradigm shift where we go away from more reports, from more dashboards, and into what's important for me to know today. I don't want to go through 200 dashboards in three different technologies. The one thing that I want is an intelligent model that has access to all of my data and tells me, well, there's five KPIs you should have a look at. Maybe it's a data quality problem. Maybe it's nothing. Maybe it's just a deferred invoice or whatever. But maybe it's something that needs your attention and you should now get active on it.” (30:26)“I think AI is a wonderful technology. I think it has a lot of potential upside. It has the high risk of being misunderstood and overestimated. But honestly, you can't blame it on technology. Often, that's part of the history of large organizations. It's not always the technology, it's the adoption of the technology. And this has a lot to do with maturity of the workforce, maturity of the organization, processes, culture. So you can bring the best technology in the world, but if you don't have fertile ground, if you don't have the right people on the ground that make sure that your workforce understands it and also that your processes are adjusted accordingly, then the technology will fail” (34:05)“My dream is that you don't need me anymore because I'm a transformational leader. And when everybody in this organization breathes data, breathes AI and applies it every single day, then my task is done, then you don't need me anymore. I still have a few days.” (38:00)Mentions: Bring Your Own DocumentsLangdockSnowflake Gary MarcusKoshari RecipeBio: Walid is Chief Data & AI Officer at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, where he leads the company’s Data & AI organization, delivering value, governance, architecture, engineering, and operations across the company globally. With many years experience in startups, IT, and consulting major corporations, Walid encompasses a strong understanding of the intersection between business and technology. Born in Egypt and raised in three different states in Germany, Walid celebrates his multicultural background and leverages it to inform his commitment to DE&I. As a father of two amazing daughters, he advocates for a more equal workplace to ensure a better future for the next generation. Walid strives to be the best ally he can be, making these values the cornerstone of his leadership approach. Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
People are only as healthy as the communities they live in. In this episode, discover how Elevance Health is reimagining  the healthcare system, and strengthening our communities in the process with a data-driven strategy. Learn how Elevance Health leverages community data to paint a more complete picture of an individual’s health, making healthcare journeys more personalized and equitable. You’ll also hear why analytics must have a seat at the business table, the importance of extending data democratization beyond the organization, and the need for change management along the journey. Tune in to learn:How Elevance Health forms holistic views of patients’ heath by connecting community data (03.55)Why analytics should sit at the business table (13:08)How to understand your customers as individuals, learn their business problems, and meet them where they are (19:10)Why data democratization should go beyond the organization (21:16)How to engage in a new relationship with data with natural language (35:35)Key Quotes:“Once you're sitting across from a community-based organization and you're helping them with where to focus efforts, having data in that conversation and being able to show, well, here are where our members are located and here are the members that have a chronic need for food or for transportation. Using data in that conversation is a game changer.”“Analytics should be at the table, not a takeaway from the table. So I think analytics, when they’re sitting around the table with the business when they're making decisions or they're working through a problem, is a very different construct than traditional models where the business convenes, works through a problem, then decides well we need more data, or we need data to drive a decision here, go ahead and put in a ticket or seek additional data and bring it back."“I think training is critical. I've seen far too many dashboard wastelands where you have dashboards sitting out there that are accessed very little, but have really, really good information. What that tells me is there wasn't a good amount of training. There is not a strong communication plan. There's not a robustness of really ensuring that the solution is oriented to the problem that it was created to solve.”Mentions: The Data Chief: How Healthcare Data Can Save Lives with Truveta CEO, Terry MyersonDoula Care Found to Improve Maternal Health Outcomes StudyAdvancing Health Together 2023 ReportRadical Candor by Kim Scott Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Graham McCownMultipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter by Liz WisemanBio: Robert Garnett serves as Vice President for Government Analytics and Health Benefits Cost of Care at Elevance Health. In this role, he leads a data-driven organization supporting analytics and insights for Medicaid, Medicare, Commercial and enterprise customers in the areas of population health, cost of care, performance management, operational excellence, and quality improvement. Prior to his current role, Robert served as President and CEO, Amerigroup Tennessee, where he was responsible for the strategic, fiscal, regulatory, and operational leadership of the health plan. In his role, he was also responsible for building and managing state and local relationships and fostering new growth and strategic opportunities within Tennessee’s TennCare Medicaid program. Prior to his promotion to President in 2018, Robert served as the Chief Operating Officer and previously the Director of Medicaid State Operations, leading all day-to-day health plan operations and execution, customer service, quality management, and regulatory oversight from 2014 to 2018. He served in a similar operational leadership capacity for Amerigroup Georgia from 2011 to 2014. In addition to these roles, Robert supported South Region Medicaid with business development & implementation, and strategic operations. Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
In developed nations, corporations often rollup and eat independent mom and pop shops into big box retail or big .coms that centralize supply chains and logistics. Meanwhile, independent sellers are the backbone of emerging markets. But a collision is starting to occur and it’s happening fast. Big corporations want to bring the same strategy to these emerging markets, so how can the independent seller maintain their independence? To do that, they need technology partners like RedCloud. In this conversation, we learn how RedCloud sits at the forefront of the 3 key disruptions inside of emerging markets: employment, technology, and sustainability. Learn how Soumaya Hamzaoui, Co-Founder and COO and JD de Jong, SVP of Product combine data, technology and deep knowledge of emerging economies to help independent sellers.Key Moments: A personal mission: Born in Algeria, Africa, Soumaya discusses how her childhood shaped her understanding of emerging markets.Unlike Amazon: Commerce has existed in emerging markets since the beginning of civilization. Yet independent sellers face existential challenges if big corporations are allowed to enter their markets and gobble up all of the opportunities. Learn how RedCloud hopes to not be like Amazon, and would rather focus on keeping independent sellers independent.Data for emerging market independent sellers: discover how the team developed the right products for these markets and how they overcame challenges unique to their customers.Challenges in emerging markets: Gain unique perspectives into how international marketplaces work. Key Quotes: “We are not only here to develop the technology, but we are also here to educate these businesses on the value of digitization, on the value of data. [According to a World Bank Report] 90% of these businesses need training and upskilling to keep up with the pace of the evolution of how the economical world and technological world is evolving. 88% need support in digitization on how to take their business from traditional businesses to fully digital business. And another 80% need mentorship and support on how to transform their business. - Soumaya“It is one thing to give a user access to create their own visualization. It's an entirely different thing to create not just the visualization, but an interpretation of what that visualization means. - JD“When companies look at emerging markets and the lack of digitization, they think there's a reluctance to digitize and there really isn't. It's not about the adoption of technology, but the simplification of and the cost of that technology.” - JDMentions: World Bank ReportsM-Pesa in KenyaLarge Language Models (LLMS) with DialectsMarketplace Counterfeit ChallengesBook: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good LifeBios: Soumaya Hamzaoui describes herself as an Entrepreneur and Product Strategist. She has a strong track record of developing products across Enterprises focused on the fintech and commerce global industries. She has deep sector expertise built over the last 15 years across Africa, Asia, and EMEA in mobile money, digital financial services, and FinTech launches. She attended prestigious universities in France and Algeria.Juandre (JD) de Jong is a seasoned Product professional and Chartered Management Accountant, currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Product at RedCloud. Juandre combines his financial acumen with a deep understanding of customer needs to drive product strategy and innovation. He has a proven track record of successfully launching and scaling innovative products that meet market demands. He was born in South Africa and currently resides in the UK. Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot. Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
Description:Cindi Howson is joined by Valerie A. Logan, CEO and founder of the DataLodge and Chief Strategy Officer at DATA SOCIETY GROUP, and Jason Beyer, Vice President of Data and Analytics at Bridgestone Americas. They delve into the vital concepts of data literacy and AI literacy, sharing their insights and experiences in fostering a data-driven culture within organizations. Valerie, widely regarded as the "godmother of data literacy," sheds light on the three key pillars of her approach: mindset, language, and skills. Jason provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Bridgestone is cultivating data literacy, including partnerships with HR, creating a data marketplace, and fostering a community of data enthusiasts.Key Moments: Valerie Logan explains the three pillars of data literacy: mindset, language, and skills (06:16)Jason Beyer shares Bridgestone's approach to scaling data literacy, including partnering with HR and creating a data marketplace (22:10)Valerie highlights the importance of leadership in modeling the right mindset for data literacy (29:28)Cindi, Valerie, and Jason discuss the evolution of data literacy to AI literacy (33:48)Lightning round with fun questions for Valerie and Jason (38:26)Key Quotes: ISL (Information as a second language) is really a foundational methodology for how we look at the enablement of people, the empowerment of people with this capability. And when I talk about data literacy in ISL, I look at it really as three things, mindset, language, and skills. - Valerie A. LoganTerms, Techniques, then Tools. If you're trying to drive a different behavior, a tool is part of that. But how somebody thinks, how someone engages is also part of it. - Valerie A. LoganLeaders need to think about data fluency different from those that may be using data in their role or may have data as a role and recognize that there's different levels of fluency, proficiency, and the core literacy that go along with that. - Jason BeyerEven before we called it a data literacy program, we had this mindset and approach as a COE team and our value contribution to the organization is we need to raise the water for the entire organization in how we use and make the most of our data assets. - Jason BeyerMentions: Data Literacy MovementInformation as a Second Language (ISL) methodologyThe Data Lodge and Bridgestone Data Literacy WebinarGenerative AI and prompt engineering classesBiosValerie A. Logan Founding The Data Lodge in 2019, Valerie is as committed to data literacy as it gets. With train-the-trainer bootcamps, and a peer community, she’s certifying the world’s first Data Literacy Program Leads. Valerie is excited to also serve as the Chief Strategy Officer of DSG. Valerie has more than 30 years of experience in consulting leadership and telecommunications.  She lives between the Adirondacks in Upstate NY, and Sarasota, FL with her husband Brian, and their yellow lab, Cooper, the Lodge mascot.Jason BeyerA Data, Analytics, & Technology pioneer with a proven ability to lead transformational change. Jason brings global experiences from automotive, retail, industrial manufacturing, construction, medical, and government industries. He believes what’s good for society is good for business. Jason serves on multiple boards for his community of Nashville, and for the data industry Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
Description: In this episode, Chris Stephens, Field CTO at Appen, dives into how CDO’s are navigating the world of generative AI. From setting clear expectations to driving adoption within organizations, Chris and Cindi explore the challenges and opportunities in this evolving landscape. Chris shares Appen's innovative approach to integrating humans into deep learning processes and discusses the potential of synthetic data. Plus, he shares how crucial human expertise is, in shaping ethical AI practices and touches on the impact of legislation and industry trends on AI's future.Key Moments: The Impact of generative AI on CDOs  [06:19]Appen and the excitement of generative AI [10:34]The potential of synthetic data and content curation [12:13]The importance of CDOs embracing generative AI [17:40]The early stage of generative AI and funding innovation [26:39]The importance of human in the loop [34:09]The role of legislation and industry leadership [38:46]Key Quotes: As a CDO, I think you absolutely have to figure out how to grab onto that, take ownership of it, and provide the leadership that your company needs - if you don't, then of course someone else will.  All of the challenges come on the non-technical side. Being successful in these programs is about more humanistic type skills than it is being a wizard in the technology space, in my opinion.The work that Appen does is working in support of all of these global organizations and the key is getting humans involved in these loops. Mentions: Deep learningDeep fake Synthetic data Gartner Generative AI Bio: Chris has been leading large-scale data transformations for over a decade, bringing advanced analytics capabilities to the world for 25 years.  Most recently, he served in CDO roles at GEICO, Zendesk, and American Eagle Outfitters.  Prior to that he helped lead the Data Science practice at Pivotal Software helping organizations around the world adopt modern data and software practices.  He is Field CTO and Head of AI Solutions at Appen bringing AI systems to life for organizations around the world.  He is an advisor to Insight Partners and Battery Ventures helping shape a new generation of technology and teams.  He is Adjunct Faculty at Carnegie Mellon University teaching our next generation of data and AI leaders.   He is passionate about the human side of data, transformation, and innovation.  He hails from Pittsburgh with his wife and 5 young adult children.  An avid music fan, he reminds us that, "you who choose to lead must follow."Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot. Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
Description: Michael Jordan once said that players win games, and teams win championships. In this episode, Cindi interviews Alfredo Colas, Senior Vice President of Data and Analytics at Procter & Gamble. Together, they explore the importance of fostering a data-driven culture and digital fluency, while delving into strategies for overcoming challenges in data culture. They also discuss the company's rich history of data innovation and the evolving impact of technology on data access and processing. From key insights on investing in data and AI fluency to discussing the role of the AI factory in accelerating machine learning processes, Alfredo and Cindi cover it all. Key Moments: Building a data-driven culture and data fluency [9:48] Overcoming challenges in data culture and adoption [10:16] Investing in data and AI fluency across the organization [19:55] The AI Factory and accelerating machine learning processes [20:16] Addressing fears and human oversight in AI [27:50]Key Quotes: As part of that also, we believe we need everyone in the organization to understand data, to understand analytics. So we are heavily investing in the digital fluency of the full organization and not just the IT function.Michael Jordan said that players win games and teams win championships, I agree with him. To me, it's not about one trait. It's about having a diverse team where everyone brings something different. If we want to be here another 100 years or another 183 years, we need to be training the new generations so that they can be successful in the future.Mentions: AI Factory chatPG Generative AIBio: Alfredo Colas is the Senior Vice President of IT for Data & Analytics, and Digital Go-To-Market. He leads an organization of more than 850 P&G IT professionals and over a thousand partner resources.Data and Algorithmic solutions are a key engine of P&G’s Integrated Growth Strategy. Through a combination of Enterprise Data Lake platform, data pipelines and machine learning workbenches, this team is creating cutting-edge capabilities across all dimensions of the business.As part of his Digital Go-To-Market role, he is accountable for developing new capabilities to help P&G win by unlocking the full potential of P&G’s Sales organization. He oversees the digitization of the company’s sales processes and powering them with analytics. He also leads P&G’s Salesforce Platform Team.Alfredo joined Procter & Gamble in 1996 in Spain and, over the years, led various local, regional and global organizations across the U.S. and Europe, including Italy, Russia, Spain and Switzerland. In 2005-2006, Alfredo participated in a Manager-On-Loan program, where he worked in PC business operations at Hewlett-Packard. He has extensive experience in transforming and enabling the sales organization at P&G, and has led commercial and supply chain redesigns, e-commerce initiatives and the integration of multiple acquisitions. Most recently, he led IT & Shared Services for North America, P&G’s largest region.Alfredo thrives at the intersection of business and technology. He is motivated by applying technology to transform the business and create significant value. He also has long-standing experience working in external forums to identify opportunities and impulse efficiencies that improve the end-to-end value chain and ultimately benefit consumers. He started working with GS1 Spain (AECOC) more than 20 years ago. He has been in the board of GS1 US since 2016 and actively participates in key industry initiatives such as Verified by GS1 and the migration from product barcodes to 2D codes.Alfredo resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife and his two younger children. His eldest is a freshman in engineering at Purdue University. Get even more insights from data and analytics leaders like Alfredo Colas on The Data Chief.  Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
Giving ABC’s more meaning, in this episode of The Data Chief host Cindi Howson, engages in a captivating conversation with Nisha Paliwal, the managing VP of Enterprise Data Technology at Capital One. Nisha dives into her multifaceted role as a tech leader, visionary, and advocate for STEM education. The discussion traverses topics ranging from the impact of technology on younger generations to the future of work in the era of AI. With insights into Nisha's unique ABC leadership framework and Capital One's innovative culture, this episode offers a rich exploration of data leadership and human-centered tech strategy. Key Moments:The impact of technology on younger generations [3:05]Nisha’s leadership style: The ABC Framework [5:02]The future of work and AI’s impact [15:56]Mitigating risks and building trust in AI [20:20]The importance of data in AI [25:22]Capital One’s culture of innovation [31:18] Key Quotes:“Let's just be who we are and bring the best in others too. So all the people who I work with, bring their best self to work and are comfortable with whoever they want to be.” “I think AI might not be for everybody to start with. I think it's okay to wait and watch. I think it's okay to let it bake because again, these things are not cheap either, right? These require a lot of investment upfront.” “Data is the king these days, we have a lot of investment in data, we have about 1000 plus people and I'm here to serve them, to serve the organization, serve our product – I care about what we build.” Mentions:Databricks IBMHyperautomationGenerative AIThe Secrets of AI Value Creation Bio:Nisha Paliwal is Managing Vice President of Enterprise Data Technology at Capital One, where she has held a variety of leadership roles over more than eight years. An accomplished leader, visionary technologist, and passionate change agent, she has been a relentless advocate for leveraging technology and data insights to create true business value for more than 20 years. At Capital One, she also actively contributes to and holds leadership roles in the Women in Tech and Origins business resource groups (BRGs). Nisha has a big heart for her associates and desires for them to feel valued, engaged and psychologically safe. With a passion for introducing young girls to technology, she also mentors others and supports several STEM-focused non profits, with a long-term vision of bringing more women into the ranks of technology leadership. Nisha volunteers her personal time with three non-profits - Boolean Girls, CodeVa, and WingsForGrowth, which focus on STEM education for K-12 and education for women in leadership-related topics.Nisha is an avid learner who made the jump from microbiology to the tech world after teaching herself C# programming. She continues her life-long pursuit of learning by reading, listening to podcasts, and participating in internal and external speaking engagements.Nisha has recently co-authored a book “The Secrets of AI Value Creation,” published by Wiley, in her pursuit of learning and sharing those learnings with the community in the form of this book. Order Nisha’s new book, The Secrets of AI Value Creation now. Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.  Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
On this episode of The Data Chief, Katie Russell, Data Director at OVO Energy shares OVO’s transformative journey to become a sustainable energy leader, emphasizing the shift to Google Cloud Platform and a data mesh strategy. The discussion covers OVO's innovative use of generative AI, measuring success through customer savings, and the ongoing challenge of fostering a data-driven culture.Key Moments: OVO’s mission and data support [1:05]Data transformation [7:37]Technology modernization [11:17]Data discoverability and data mesh [17:28]Measuring business contribution [22:03]Generative AI and data privacy [27:56]Data-driven culture and trust [30:51]Key Quotes: "We chose Google Cloud Platform as our underlying data platform with BigQuery then as the data warehouse. The thesis being that they practically invented the technology and so should be good at it." “My job is to represent my team, make sure that we're working on the right things, and then, build  trust with the leadership community that we're doing the right things with data for the business.”"I'm thinking that there might actually be a bit of a full circle on data privacy and sharing. I think with ChatGPT being so easy to use with its really human-centered design and with social media ups and downs over the last few years, I'm wondering if there's going to be a revolution in data privacy and data sharing and personal data." Mentions: SQL buddies programPython programGoogle CloudBigQueryMonte CarloGenerative AIChatGPTBio: Katie Russell is the Data Director at OVO Energy, leading teams of Data Scientists, Data Engineers and Analysts who are transforming OVO’s data capability. As part of a technology led business, leveraging data using artificial intelligence keeps OVO truly innovative, delivering the best possible service for our customers. Katie joined OVO in October 2017 having spent 5 years at ONZO - an energy analytics startup  - as Head of Data Science. During that time she was chuffed to be awarded Big Data Hero by techUK in June 2016 and helped ONZO win multiple awards for their innovative solutions for utilities. Prior to that Katie worked for another analytics start up in the water industry, got a PhD in Mathematical Physics and holds a BA and MMath from the University of Cambridge.  Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
You’ve heard the term data science, but have you heard about decision science? Juergen Kallinger, VP of Data and Insights at HP, shares valuable insights and reflections from his 22-year journey at HP. In this episode, Juergen dives into HP’s pivotal shift from solely reporting, to the dynamic realm of decision science and how it’s aligned their data team.Key Moments: Balancing technical skills and business acumen [7:16]The analogy of being a great cook [9:24]Maintaining proximity to business stakeholders [16:55]Adjusting the language for different audiences [22:35]The evolution of data science and decision science [32:48]The excitement and potential of AI [37:19]Key Quotes: “I talk a lot about extreme ownership. We're in the data world and we're at the end of a very long chain of things that have to work for us to be able to deliver high-quality data analytics and insights to our business users. We cannot assume that everything upstream always works and is always perfect and we just rely on the very last mile.” “Data is like water. It's vital for our survival in the modern business world." "The more tech buzzwords there are, the less I would use them with the business teams. I would more focus on the business outcomes and what we enable. It's important to talk about the implications of strong data governance, aligning to the same metrics, enabling specific insights, and guaranteeing higher data quality to build trust in the data."Mentions: Data warehouseData migrationData quality improvementDecision scienceGenerative AIBio:  Together with his team, Juergen is currently responsible for HPs Data, Business Insights & Analytics globally. His team of consultants, project managers, solution architects & developers is responsible for the design & delivery of data products, business intelligence and analytics solutions to HPs Commercial (Sales, Category, Operations), Finance, Supply Chain, Services, Customer Support & Digital Transformation teams globally. He joined HP in November 2001 as Project Analyst in Vienna, Austria and has held several regional and worldwide management positions since then. During his career at HP Juergen worked in a wide range of international roles where he gained deep insight into HP’s core processes and systems globally covering Marketing, Sales, Pricing, Category, Configuration & Quote as well as Finance and Sales Compensation. In 2022, Juergen has been appointed to lead the HP-wide Data, Business Insights & Analytics organization to introduce a more modern, consistent, and efficient Business Intelligence operating model, data & platform strategy. Before joining HP, Juergen has worked for BASF and a local tax advisory company in Vienna. Juergen graduated with a master’s degree in economics from the Vienna University of Economics & Business and completed an executive education program for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Stanford University. Together with his wife, Juergen moved to Houston, Texas in January 2014. Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
Gen-AI, Gen-AI, Gen-AI. The transformative technology has captured the imagination of everyone in the tech industry. Industries are shifting before our eyes, and the roles and responsibilities of data practitioners everywhere are going to shift again. The question is not whether an impact will be made, but what will the impact be? In this episode, Cindi sits down with 3 industry leaders to discuss how AI will impact our work and our personal lives in 2024. Sandy Carter shares how a severe injury in Brazil impacted her outlook on data sharing, and data verification in a world where AI can convince millions that the Pope wears puffy jackets. Jai Das sees a gap in educating technical workers if AI is too widely adopted. Prab Pritchandi shares how the financial industries will modernize in a heavily regulated environment.  Industry Predictions: There will be an intersection of AI Privacy and blockchain technology that will be poised to reshape the entire landscape of proof of ownership. And therefore, also revolutionize data sharing practices. We will go and move into a decentralized proof of ownership because of the increasing use of Gen AI and the fear of deep fakes. (34:15) - Sandy CarterGenerative AI is going to get rid of a lot of the grunt work that we have day to day. Including some of the groundwork in data prep, some of the groundwork that analysts have to do, or even understanding reports and dashboards. I think the fear about [AI] getting really smart and destroying the world is really far-fetched. All of the LLMs and all of these GPT 5 and all of these models, they're great [but] they're not really reasoning. They're not right. They're great at getting some information and putting it in a new form. They don't come up with anything original. So I'm not actually fearful of [AI] replacing humans. (14:30) - Jai Das90 percent of the data available in the world has been created in the last one year.And every year the amount of data is actually increasing. I could say data is really a good digital twin of your business [but] that itself is not a value unless you're able to convert this data to insights and then convert the insights to actionable insights. (1:06:00)- Prab Pitchandi Key MomentsJai observes 2023 AI startups are missing profitable business models  (10:55)Jai identifies a gap in education. Developers are trained through repetition. But what happens when repetition is replaced by AI (24:53)Sandy breaks her femur and surgery is delayed by 48 hours due to data (34:54)Sandy says, Taylor Swift is Web 3.0 (46:30)Prab compares banking data and analytics to cricket (51:27)Prab wonders if Formula 1 can be driverless (1:07:00) Mentions: Microsoft CoPilotGoogle GeminiMidjourneyOpenAITop 10 data and analytics trends 2024The Year GenAI Comes to Fruition: 10 Enterprise Tech Trends Set to Define 2024  Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
The world's top data and analytics leaders share their stories on the The Data Chief. New episodes return in January 2024. Until then, take a look at some of the previous episodes and hear case studies, industry insights, and personal lessons from the executives leading the data revolution. Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
Description:On this episode, Benn Stancil, Co-Founder of Mode Analytics and current Field CTO at Thoughtspot  shares his thoughts on who wants to use data to solve problems, and who just wants data to validate an opinion. He brings unique perspectives to how data excellence can be proliferated through an organization, whether shadow IT is a nuisance or a guide post, and how large language models will influence the future of data. Key Moments:How an internal analytics tool Benn built at Yammer led to starting Mode Analytics to serve the new breed of technical data teams (4:00)Why the urgency around BI consolidation in 2023 prompted conversations with ThoughtSpot (52:30) The risks of shadow tools and lack of consistency; importance of a centralized data infrastructure (26:30)Using natural language search as an interface for asking novel questions and changing how people use data (44:00)Data teams need visibility into the business context; centralization for infrastructure but decentralization to embed in business units (23:30)How ambition plays an outsized role in the type of data tools selected in an organization (17:58)Key Quotes:Courage, ultimately, is needed in making a decision that you have to own. [Unfortunately], data can be a punt. If you make a data driven decision, nobody made the decision. The data made the decision. There is like an abstraction there of who was actually responsible for it. What ends up happening [in shadow IT] is you spend all this time just trying to figure out, like, which one do you trust? Who's right? Everybody has their different perspectiveGood Googlers are not people that know the, the exact syntax of weird Google searches. Good Googlers are the people who have some spider sense about where to go looking for things. And I think AI is probably going to be similar to that, where it's not the crazy prompt engineers that'll make it good. It’s like some of the next level spider sense skills that we don’t know yet.MentionsRShadow ITMicrosoft acquires YammerLarge Language Models (LLMs)ModeBioBenn Stancil is ThoughtSpot’s Field CTO. He joined ThoughtSpot in 2023 as part of its acquisition of Mode, where he was a Co-Founder and CTO. While at Mode, Benn held roles leading Mode’s data, product, marketing, and executive teams. He regularly writes about data and technology at  Prior to founding Mode, Benn worked on analytics teams at Microsoft and Yammer.Personal Details:- Enjoys playing baseball and is a Braves fan- Favorite pump up song: "Labour" by Paris Paloma- Grateful for opportunities to travel and gain new perspectives Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
Diana Schildhouse, Chief Analytics and Insights Officer at Colgate-Palmolive, discusses driving business value through analytics, ensuring executives are data fluent, innovating with AI, and her career path through iconic brands like Mattel and Disney.Key MomentsListening Tours: How 100’s of one-on-one conversations helped to narrow in on which business problems could be solved with data and quickly lead to business value (4:50)Working to benchmark the company against its industry helped to establish the business impact and value of data (6:41)Transforming from pockets of excellence to uniform excellence. Spreading data excellence as a way to increase data transformation (8:00)Increasing data literacy via its own data education and recognition program, Data Literacy and Analytics Academy. (9:52)Because product development lifecycles are so long, data plays a massive role in understanding consumer trends and what consumers will want in the future (19:46)Use case driven innovation drives business value fastest.  (22:46)Data Clean rooms and partner collaboration is the key to generating useful 1st party data (25:06)How a center-led hybrid enabled global teams to improve data utilization at Colgate-Palmolive (31:21)Co-Creation helps create both nuance for specific teams and applicability for broader teams (33:21)Key QuotesThe approach of let's take five years and invest in data and get it to a perfect spot and then we can start doing analytics and showing that value is just not one that any company has patience for.That co-creation is so important to us, because..if the business doesn’t understand what a solution is supposed to help them do, it won't be adopted.We try to be laser focused on what we think will move the business versus starting with the data. We're not trying to boil the ocean. It's hard to show value and progress when you're not delivering tools that can actually help the business make a decision today or tomorrow.MentionsDataIQ 100Boston Consulting GroupMattelCDOIQDataCampCredlyRevenue Growth ManagementClean RoomsBioDiana Schildhouse is Chief Analytics and Insights Officer at Colgate-Palmolive. She previously held analytics leadership roles at Mattel and The Walt Disney Company. Diana has an undergraduate degree in Business and Finance from USC and an MBA from Harvard.Personal DetailsFavorite activities outside of work: walking her golden doodle named Bagel, spending time with family, movies, readingSong that pumps her up: "Who Run the World (Girls)" by BeyonceGrateful for close friendships with "personal board of directors" from business schoolSeen the Barbie movie 3 times and loved it Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
DescriptionAs the world’s seventh largest retailer, Carrefour is using advanced analytics to transform operations, better serve customers, and pioneer the future of retail. Chief Data & Analytics Officer Sebastien Rozanes explains how the company is leveraging data and generative AI to drive measurable business value across merchandising, supply chain, marketing and more.Key Moments:How a strong data foundation and data monetization mindset accelerated data maturity at Carrefour (5:46)Selling data to CPGs to improve collaboration and justify data investments (20:57)The "data supermarket" analogy to get business leaders invested in data quality (30:39)Reducing friction by enabling suppliers and retailers to work from the same data facts (32:33)Starting with imagination not limitations to identify AI opportunities (42:08)Leveraging ChatGPT to transform the ecommerce shopping experience (45:10)Key Quotes“It's okay to be 5% wrong, but 95% right…[with the time you free up] you will make up much more value than trying to optimize the last 5%.”“The role of Chief Data Analytics Officer goes way beyond the technology. It's 10 percent about technology, 20 percent about data, but actually 70 percent about transformation and adoption.”“Generative AI is a game changer for efficiency and helping us focus on human creativity.”Mentions: ParisGoogle CloudMIT CDO ForumWharton SchoolData LakesData CatalogsCarrefour LinksGenerative AIChatGPTBioSebastien Roznes is the Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Carrefour, a top 10 global retailer serving 80 million customers across more than 40 countries, including 8 countries with direct operations. Prior to joining Carrefour, Sebastien served as a Principal and Associate Director with the Boston Consulting Group with a focus in Digital, AI, and Data-Driven Transformations for Multinational Consumer Goods and Industrial Goods businesses. His educational background focuses on both Computer Science and Business providing him with unique insights on how data can serve the business. Learn more from Sebastien and how data is transforming retail on The Data Chief.   Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
It’s that time of year again. On this episode of The Data Chief, Cindi dives into three of the hottest book recommendations for data and analytics leaders and sits down with Dr. Barb Wixom, author of Data is Everybody’s Business, Vin Vashishta, author of From Data to Profit, and Asha Saxena, author of The AI Factor.Key Moments:Introducing Dr. Barb Wixom (2:10)Barb’s desire to continue helping people in the data industry (2:57) (Barb)The different types of organizational leaders (8:21) (Barb)Creating value from data (10:50) (Barb)The selling framework (16:42) (Barb)A financial services case study (21:56) (Barb)Introducing Vin Vashishta (27:18) (Vin)The importance of companies having a single playbook (28:08) (Vin)Benefits of a value-based approach (32:52) (Vin)Starting with a problem statement (34:58) (Vin)When a lack of data literacy becomes problematic (38:46) (Vin)Driving culture change (40:30) (Vin)Introducing Asha Saxena (46:12)What is Women Leaders in Data and AI? (48:27) (Asha)The four-quadrant framework for deploying AI (52:11) (Asha)Case Study: How an Animal Shelter leveraged AI (55:44) (Asha)How to use AI ethically and responsibly (59:32) (Asha)Mentions:From Data to ProfitData is Everybody’s Business: The Fundamentals of Data MonetizationThe AI Factor: How to Apply Artificial Intelligence and Use Big Data to Grow Your Business ExponentiallyRita McGrath, Professor at Columbia UniversitySatya NadalGoogle PaLMOpenAIJack RockartCapital OneBill Schmarzo (former guest on The Data Chief)LyftBBVAGet even more insights from data and analytics leaders like these on The Data Chief. is a media studio producing content for world-class clients. Learn more at Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
Not many CDOs get to enter a new role with a clean slate. But Geraldine Wong, CDO for GXS Bank in Singapore did just that. In this episode of The Data Chief, she explains how the bank has built a foundation of data literacy by providing employees the right tools, access, and knowledge to put data at the forefront of their workflow. This culture of education and understanding establishes trust, empowers departments to “self-serve” data for better productivity, and ultimately leads to stronger understanding of data for customers and employees alike.Tune in to learn:Starting from a “clean slate” as a CDO (1:32)GXS’s role and purpose as a new bank (3:49)Data security and consumer privacy (9:47)The GXS Bank data strategy (14:46)Using generative AI to improve data fluency (20:27)Advantages and disadvantages of being fully in the cloud (26:48)How higher education can better prepare workers for digital transformation (29:32)Why Singapore is a global leader in data literacy (37:24)Mentions:Data Protection TrustmarkSyntelGrabPersonal Data Protection CommissionIMDA Certification BodyGoogle PaLM 2Get even more insights from data and analytics leaders like Geraldine on The Data Chief. is a media studio producing content for world-class clients. Learn more at Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
In this episode of The Data Chief, hosts Cindi Howson and Sonny Rivera interview Sumathi Thiyagarajan, the VP of Business Strategy and Analytics for the Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum. Sumathi discusses being a data leader in professional sports, building a data team from the ground up, and leveraging insights to continually provide the best fan experience. Tune in to learn:Making the transition to a professional sports team (2:42)The evolution of Sumathi’s role and team (4:58)The growing importance of data across the NBA (10:02)Unique challenges Sumathi faces in her role with the Bucks (12:01)Creating personalized fan experiences (14:38)Using data to increase the team’s visibility in the marketplace (18:12)Finding (and keeping) strong data team talent (22:31)Building a talent pool through a successful hackathon (26:20)Coaching and developing a diverse data team (29:07)Addressing the challenges of fragmented data (33:50)Driving innovation for the Bucks (and across the NBA) (37:35)Mentions:FiservMarquette UniversityRandy BeanGiannis AntetokounmpoMedical College of WisconsinDeer DistrictHBR podcastsRakutenGet even more insights from data and analytics leaders like Sumathi on The Data Chief. is a media studio producing content for world-class clients. Learn more at Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.
Alex Viana, VP of Data at Vercel, has had a truly unique career. Starting with a role at the Hubble Space Telescope, Alex found his way into the data space by way of data security and searching for leaked data assets. Today, he leads the data organization at Vercel, where he views building – teams, technology processes, and metrics – as his primary responsibility. In this episode Alex shares his thoughts on leading data teams at different (but fast-growing) tech companies, the importance of building scalable data platforms, delivering value through stakeholder engagement, and balancing long-term vision with short-term action as a key to success.Tune in to learn:The origins of Alex’s data journey with the Hubble Space Telescope (4:29)Alex’s unique approach to data leadership (6:12)About Vercel (8:25)Transitioning from growth-stage to more mature companies (10:38)The biggest challenges Alex faces at Vercel (14:12)Creating synchronicity across departments (16:59)Having vision as a data executive (21:54)The role of the data team in scaling a company (24:45)Determining your value as an executive (27:31)Building a positive data culture (33:10)The growth of generative AI in data (39:20)Mentions: Space Telescope Science InstituteHubble Space TelescopeNext.js ReactPostgresAnderson HorowitzRichard HammingHealthJoyCamille Fournier - The Manager's PathBio: Alex Viana is the VP of Data at Vercel. Alex has over 15 years of experience in data management and analysis, and has led teams of data scientists, engineers, and analysts in their previous positions. Alex is an expert in Python and SQL, and has used these skills to develop software platforms for managing and analyzing large datasets. Alex has also created databases of astronomical observations and predicted moon positions. In their current role, they are responsible for providing accurate data and insights to the organization and promoting data-driven decision making.Get even more insights from data and analytics leaders like Alex on The Data Chief.   Hear more from Cindi Howson here. Sponsored by ThoughtSpot.