Earlier this month, Collibra had the pleasure of hosting over 400 data citizens at our annual Data Citizens Conference. The event was a rich bazaar of people, talents, ideas (and food, coffee and drink, too), with endless opportunities for attendees to learn, exchange ideas, and meet other travelers on the road to data governance.
The Collibra Data Citizens Conference is not your typical user conference. We called it “Data Citizens ’17,” not “Collibra World.” Sure, we had the expected product roadmap updates from our co-founder and CTO Stan Christiaens and our product management team, but more of the content focused on the actionable – and achievable – tips and tricks that attendees could apply as soon as they returned to their offices. Here are a few highlights.
Day one started with inspirational opening remarks from our co-founder and CEO Felix Van de Maele. If you’ve heard Felix speak before, you’ll know that he believes that true data governance is about more than technology. It’s about governance processes and the people engaged in them, supported by a system of record for data. In his words, this is data governance. He pointed out that, just as the CFO has SAP and the CRO has Salesforce.com, the CDO will have Collibra. Felix also talked about how “data is the new green.” Years ago, organizations built their brands on “going green.” They built trust with their customers by demonstrating the company’s awareness of and care for the environment. Today, companies build trust with customers based on how they protect and care for customers’ personal data. As the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deadline of May 25, 2018 looms large on the horizon, this point holds powerful meaning.
Next up, our guest keynote speaker, NPR’s social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam, captivated the audience with his insight and perspective. Shankar made the connection between data and the “hidden brain.” He explored the surprising ways our brains work when overloaded with data, and the impact the data deluge has on organizations. And he offered actionable advice to the audience on ways to drive change within their organizations as they strive to become data-driven.
The day continued with our popular roadmap sessions led by Collibra co-founder and CTO Stan Christiaens and the product management team. It was clear from the audience’s reaction that the paradigm shift we’re driving for data lineage diagrams and data profiling is a true game changer for them. We also heard from other Collibra experts on topics such as integration and the Amazonification of data.
Our customers have told us time and again how much they value learning from each other, so day one featured several customer panels representing industry perspectives from healthcare, financial services, retail, technology, and hospitality. Customers offered advice on hot topics such as how to gain buy-in and adoption and revealed great advice and best practices for driving a governance program forward. And a few brave customers even shared their data governance horror stories, which turned into tales of challenges met and conquered.
The day’s sessions ended with “Around the World with Collibra”, a behind-the-scenes introduction to the Collibrians who could not make it to the conference, but who spend their days designing, building, and thinking about how to improve Collibra for our customers
Exchanging ideas with each other is a main reason our customers attend Data Citizens, so we built in plenty of time for networking and fellowship. Our Meet the Experts session gave attendees the opportunity to rub elbows with leading data innovators from other customer companies, as well as with our partners and Collibra experts. And we continued the networking well into the evening as we enjoyed breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline during our cocktail reception. We introduced the “DeeCee touch” to our attendees, giving them a way to collect content and connect with each other in a modern, digital way. This fun, interactive device sparked a competition as well, as attendees tried to work their way to the top of our leaderboard by collecting the most number of DeeCee touches throughout the event.
Day two of Data Citizens ’17 opened with a midyear review of our popular 7 Data Predictions for 2017. Our blog editor, Val Kennon, interviewed co-founders Felix, Stan, and Pieter, to learn their perspectives on what we got right – and where we missed the mark. Our platinum sponsors, PwC and Exusia, also shared their ideas on what’s ahead for data this year.
Our day two guest keynote was delivered by GDPR expert and CEO of EDMWorks Dennis Slattery. Dennis shared why the GDPR isn’t about me (it’s about you) and how companies are being forced to remove any blinders of self-interest in order to safeguard their customers. He provided the steps organizations can take to prepare for the pending deadline. GDPR certainly is a hot topic, and it’s sure to get even hotter as the countdown to compliance day approaches.
As we moved through the day, attendees learned more about Collibra Catalog, our new product that makes finding data faster and easier for all data citizens. They also heard from Collibra experts on topics ranging from data quality and sustainable data governance to operating models and advanced workflows.
A popular offering — returning for its second year — enabled attendees to participate in product manager for a day sessions where they worked hand-in hand with our PM team to design a new feature for the product. There’s more to come on these sessions from our PM team, so look for that recap in the coming weeks. Collibra University also certified over 50 attendees in our CDO Readiness, Data Steward, and Developer certification workshops.
For those of you who attended, you’ll know that I’ve only scratched the surface of what Data Citizens ’17 delivered. For those of you who didn’t attend, consider purchasing the virtual package where you’ll gain access to the actionable and achievable advice that I mentioned earlier in this post (Note: virtual package content will be available in the coming days). But you’ll need to move quickly – the ability to purchase the virtual package is only available through June 15.
Attendees – let me know what you liked best. And what you’d like to see more of next year. And for those of you reading who didn’t attend, I hope you’ll save the date for next year.