Data Citizens ’19 Day 1: Spotlight on Data Intelligence


Data Citizens ’19 Day One – Putting data intelligence in the spotlight
Fleur Sohtz, CMO

Today, speakers at Data Citizens ’19 – our annual conference – agreed that data intelligence is the future. The two-day, sold-out conference and awards ceremony kicked off at the Conrad Hotel in New York City with nearly 600 people in the morning sessions, standing room-only.

Delivering value through data
Session after session made it clear that while AI, machine learning, and IoT are evolving at an accelerating velocity, it’s data that underpins the ability of these technologies to deliver value.

“Clearly, data is impacting every job in every company in every industry,” said Felix Van de Maele, founder and CEO of Collibra, in his opening welcome. “There has never been a better time to achieve impact with your data. But there has also never been a time where achieving impact with your data is more important. Your future is determined by your data.”

He added, “Data intelligence allows any data citizen to uncover and extract the strategic value hidden in your data. It gives everyone the power to use data to solve problems, implement ideas, and grow businesses.”

The first panel of the day hosted by CTO Stijn Christiaens focused on the challenge of fuelling strategic transformation with data and analytics. The speakers discussed why – given the modest sizes of most data analytics teams within companies – it’s best to start with smaller projects that can be delivered quickly to demonstrate value. The team can focus on building trust with the business through these successes, and then work to create an internal community or network of people who are engaged in the challenge of working with data and analytics to begin to build scale.

Next, Massimo Mascaro, technical director of applied AI at Google, talked about how AI is set to even change the way software – and hardware – is created. Today AI is being used to design both of these things – in fact, AI is literally being used to create AI. He said that the value of the data that organizations have today is growing, because it is this data that will power their software creation in the future – he called this Software 2.0. He added, “The way that you go about it, and how fast you go about it, will determine your success.”

Then our SVP of engineering Jeff Burk hosted a panel that explored the important question of where an organization’s data should live – on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid of these two options. The general consensus was data should be stored where it made the most sense to put it, strategically. The panelists spoke of “data-first design” in considering this and other issues. However, they noted that there is a growing shift to storing data in the cloud – particularly when working with technologies such as AI, ML, and IoT in order to allow you to take advantage of the compute power you need – and that data governance should be at the core of a cloud strategy.

Following that, the keynote panel focused on how to build a successful data culture. The session featured chief data officer-level speakers from Credit Suisse, Walmart, and KPMG. All three panellists spoke about how at first blush, their roles may seem to be about processes, data and technology – but how most of their work really focuses on people. They agreed that an expanding part of their role involves guiding people on the data intelligence journey.

They also agreed that the role of the CDO is in its infancy, and that it would continue to evolve and change over the coming decade. The CDO role will become one of the key C-suite positions in time, key to enabling companies to deliver on their strategic objectives.

Celebrating success
To cap off the day, the winners of the 2019 Collibra Excellence Awards were announced. The awards honor teams and individuals driving innovative data strategy by collaborating with Collibra.

  • American Express — Distinguished Data Program of the Year.
  • Deloitte — Distinguished Partner of the Year.
  • Kate Brooks – Lloyds Banking Group — Distinguished Data Citizen of the Year
  • Michael Morcos – JP Morgan Chase — Collibra Certified Ranger of the Year.

I was truly amazed by the submissions we had. It’s incredible to see the hard work and immense impact these projects are having at some of the leading organizations in the world. The success of these award winners were celebrated further at the cocktail reception that capped off the first day.

Looking ahead to Day Two

Tomorrow begins with a welcome and product roadmap update from Jim Cushman, chief product officer at Collibra – followed by a session with the Excellence Award winners. A panel discussion will explore the complex, evolving relationship between data privacy and emerging technologies. The day will be capped off by, a Women In Data panel – featuring executives from Adobe, General Motors, Dell, Cox Automotive, American Airlines and Lockheed Martin – will explore the ways in which data governance teams can collaborate more effectively with the business.

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