As a result of the recent pandemic, there has been a surge in demand for data to help safeguard businesses from future uncertainties. With an increasing number of organizations fuelling solutions and driving innovation with data, there is a growing concern with the way that data is accessed, used, and protected. In fact, there was a 126% increase in total fines from 2019 to 2020 issued as a result of the GDPR. These fines will only continue to increase as privacy regulations evolve and expand. 

However, data governance isn’t just about avoiding fines. It also enables organizations to achieve better data analytics, more informed decisions, and improved operational efficiency. As more organizations begin to realize the value of a sound data governance strategy, the role of Chief Data Officer (CDO) has grown in importance and demand.

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Rupinder Dhillon, CDO at Hudson’s Bay Company. Rupinder has worked in data for over twenty years with expertise in data management, business intelligence, advanced analytics, and AI and machine learning. She has worked across industries spanning financial services, software, telecommunications, and now retail.

We had the opportunity to get her perspective on the state of data in 2021.

Q: Welcome, Rupinder. Thank you for sitting down with us. To get started, can you please explain your main responsibilities as a CDO?

I believe that the CDO role is nuanced to the company that you’re in. The role will differ slightly from organization to organization depending on their data maturity, where they are in their data journey, and what data goals they have set. Traditionally, data is thought of as the exhaust that comes from a system. The role of a CDO includes trying to change this mindset from data as just a by-product to a tool that can be used for exploration and innovation. Data is no longer just about reporting.

My role sits at the crossroads of three key areas:

  1. providing good governance around data;
  2. creating a data-driven culture and driving innovation through the use of data; and
  3. making sure the organization has good visibility to performance and key metrics.

Q: How would you define a data-driven culture?

A data driven organization is one that has data and analytics embedded in the culture and the way people work every day, regardless of their function. In a data-driven culture, data and analytics is not seen as a function that is owned by one team but the entire…

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