Reflections on my first 100 days at Outra part 2

Some more reflections after my first 25 days. Yes, you’d expect me to report after my first 100 days but things here at Outra seem to move 4x faster than anywhere else. 

I still read many articles and posts, and hear the data community discuss the problems encountered and created by data being a subset of the technology domain within organisations. Essentially the CDO reporting up into the CIO or CTO. 

Caroline Carruthers and I have called out this issue for a long time, indeed writing about it in our first book, ‘The Chief Data Officer’s Playbook’. At fear of covering some of this ground again it is worth repeating a few points.

If technology and the CTO were going to ‘crack the data problem’ then surely after decades of the CTO / CIO role being established in organisations this would have been achieved by now? 

Second, ‘Data’ is a different discipline to ‘technology’. 

Finally, and quite compellingly, there was some discussion on LinkedIn recently about the relationship / hierarchy between data strategy and technology strategy. In my view an organisation has to set its ‘business strategy’ first, then other strategies like HR strategy, Data Strategy, etc. are written to support and deliver the business strategy, and finally the technology strategy is written to support and deliver these other strategies. 

How odd it would be if the tech strategy was written first and this dictated the data limits, boundaries and ambitions of the data strategy and ultimately the business strategy? Just think though how often we come across this.

Is the master carpenter given a shovel and told to get on with his job? 

I am in the most amazing position at Outra of working alongside a Chief Data Scientist, who understands commercial priorities and business outcomes, and a CTO (what a powerful triumvirate) who truly understands and prioritises data catalogues, data lineage, access to data and agility. Along with high levels of data literacy throughout the organisation. 

That is how great data products and services, transformational things, get created and operationalised. Perhaps a model for all organisations who wish to leverage the value and opportunities in their data and become data enabled.

More on DataOps and agility later…

Author: Peter Jackson, Chief Data and Product Officer