A recent study on the trends of the Chief Data Officer in the Nordics reveal that the office of the Chief Data Officer and the appointment of the Chief Data Officer have not really taken off as predicted by the data pundits.
In my role as PwC’s Chief Data Officer Advisor, I continue my investigation. Who is taking the lead in driving data agendas, what are they called and where are they located? And why aren’t they visible on C-level?
Join me in my interview with Annika Gedda, Head of Group Data Office at SEB.
Vanessa: Please tell us more about the role that you were newly recruited to.
Annika: I started in the role I currently have, Head of Group Data Office, early November last year. However I began to slide into it already a few years ago, when I was managing a regulatory project called BCBS 239, on how we aggregate data and report on it in a trustworthy way with quality. This was the first time we were subject to regulations in this area. Working on the project, we realised that we needed to update the way we were working with data governance and data management and as part of that defined the need for the Chief Data Officer role. I was appointed to take the formal role in this, i.e. to lead the data governance and management and move it into a line organisation.
Vanessa: Do you agree that regulatory pressure forced the finance sector to take the lead in appointing Chief Data Officers?
Annika: I welcome the regulatory pressure on the banks, since it pushes us even harder to invest, modernize and start thinking efficiency. There is also competition coming in from the smaller banks, challenging us in a similar way. With regards to the need for Chief Data Officers, this started already by the ongoing digitalization - requiring us to begin looking at current IT infrastructure and the transfer to the new lake environment, and how we manage data through the appointment of new roles and responsibilities etc.
Vanessa: What are your views on the role of the Chief Data Officer?
Annika: I believe the role of the Chief Data Officer is huge and we have only just started. It is important to be very conscious of how you pick your challenges and how you scope your role.
Vanessa: Why is your title Head of Group Data and not the Chief Data Officer?
Annika: We believe the standard Chief Data Office role includes a broader range of responsibilities, such as for instance data lake roadmap, digitalization, data scientists etc. We have spread out the responsibilities a bit at SEB. My role is currently information governance and data management including support on boarding to the data lake environment.
Vanessa: Do you feel that you have the mandate you need to implement the Group Data Office?
Annika: Yes, I have the mandate. I feel a strong commitment and support from the top management in SEB. A journey like this, we are talking about a major transformation of the bank, is dependent on a total commitment not only cross the bank but also top down, in order to succeed.
Our CEO is Chairman of the Information Roadmap Compartment Board, and information is on the agenda of SEB all the way up all the way to the Board.
Vanessa: Describe your key area of responsibility?
Annika: My task is primarily to further implement the information governance in the bank as decided by the management. Also to create a structure and provide tooling for the data management, including data quality, information modelling, business glossary etc. Further, we should maintain the Instruction and the Policy on Information Governance covering how we should act around data in the bank. This policy is quite comprehensive and is based on the BCBS 239 regulations. My task is to make sure that everyone begins acting according to these principles. First of all to be aware of them and to consider them in the daily work. For instance, CIO’s, architects, project managers, not only information owners but also a broad range of other people should carry this as their backbone.
Vanessa: What are some of the biggest challenges that you face?
Annika: One of my immediate challenges is to get the organization in terms of information stewards, owners and councils to start working in a structured and transparent way. There are a lot of hidden efficiency gains in this.
In parallel to this, we are building our business glossary, i.e. filling it with business terms in a structured way, in cooperation with the business. The purpose is to enable full traceability and understanding of the data in our new data lake environment.
Apart from implementing information governance and data management, which is primary, the second item on my list to secure is to get the right people on board. We are not planning to be a big unit, and we are well under way of having some very good people joining. We need to be influencers in the bank, and also to influence others to work for us, even though they might not belong to the unit.
To care about data quality in the past was at times a bit cumbersome, roles and responsibilities were not clear, and the consequences were more immediate further down the line than in the front. Now, however, we are at this turning point where a lot of people are realizing the importance of this. We are facing a momentum, which is much needed, making all of us involved in this a strong force.
Vanessa: In your opinion, what are the skills needed for a Chief Data Officer?
Vanessa: Thank you Annika! We wish you all the very best.
Digital Strategy, Data & Analytics, PwC Sverige
Tel 0729-97 26 02