CDO Magazine Interview with Aravind Jagganathan

In a recent interview series for CDO magazine, Nazar Labunets, Product Marketing Manager at Ataccama, engaged in a conversation with Aravind 'Jag' Jagannathan, Chief Data Officer for Single-Family at Freddie Mac.

In this three-part interview, Jag delves into the dynamic world of Chief Data Officers, exploring their responsibilities, the evolving nature of their role, and strategies to demonstrate value within an organization. Below are key takeaways, encompassing topics such as the confusion around the CDO role, distributed vs. centralized models, modernization of the data landscape, technology enablers, and insights into the future of data governance and management.

CDO responsibilities and how to demonstrate value

Key Takeaways:

  • Before doing anything advanced, you need to create a bedrock of data trust and availability, covering data security & privacy, governance, and data quality. That’s CDO 1.0.
  • The role of the CDO today (CDO 2.0) is about empowering your business: which involves enabling, optimizing, and democratizing data for enhanced analytics and better decision-making..
  • Align data strategies with overall business goals, creating Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) and metrics to demonstrate value.
  • Your data strategy is never on autopilot. New challenges and opportunities are constantly arising, so you need to balance data defense and offense.
  • Data modernization should always serve the business outcomes via two components: simplification and ensuring better analytics.

Confusion around the CDO role, distributed vs. centralized models, M&As, and tips for getting started with data governance

Key Takeaways:

  • Showcase your contributions that move the business forward to demonstrate value to avoid confusion. Support current and future needs, and align with the overall organizational strategy.
  • Aligning the organization's data structure with its overall business model, whether centralized or federated, will be what leads to the most success.
  • Data is always a key component of how consolidating any organization, making data management critical for M&As. You'll also have to consider the compatibility of technology, governance, and cataloging processes between the two entities.
  • Tips for getting started with data governance: (1) Assess the state of data capabilities and maturity, (2) Find out what's important for business and product stakeholders, and factor those priorities into your governance plans, (3) Generate business value in smaller increments.

Data governance technology, Gen AI, data products, and looking toward the future

Key Takeaways:

  • Data governance technology enablers: Find a technology partner who is willing and capable of adapting to your company's evolving needs in a long-term relationship. This Technology must be multi-faceted, flexible, and reliable when you need it most.
  • Gen AI is a groundbreaking technology with many exciting capabilities, but its implementation should be thoughtful, gradual, and based on the current mission and value proposition of the company.
  • CDOs must keep a data product state of mind. Treat your data assets as something consumers can "check in and check out" in a packageable and digestible format.

The bottom line: your main job as a CDO is to empower your business

If he were to sum up the responsibilities of any CDO, Aravind would always go back to empowering the business. People are a company's most important asset, and data is the lifeblood that drives everything forward. Regardless of where you reside within the organizational structure, your job should always be to ensure the best outcomes for the business as a whole.

Want to learn more about becoming a successful CDO? Visit the CDO Success Hub, where you can learn about different opportunities and technologies for prospering in your position.