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?
Meet Jan Frändegård, Head of Business Intelligence Competence Centre, Skandia.
Vanessa: Tell us more about your journey at Skandia!
Jan: I began at Skandia 3 years ago and at that time we had no dedicated unit that worked with data. Maturity assessments carried out internally led us to the creation of a competence center. That was really the beginning for me and Skandia. It was a brand new function and I’ve been running it for 3 years with a fair amount of people.
Initially it was purely Business Intelligence and Analytics driven but later on we initiated a Data Governance program too.
We currently have two streams: Business Intelligence & Analytics and Data Governance & Information Architecture.
Vanessa: What are your key areas of responsibility?
Jan: Driving the overall maturity of all aspects of data and information management in the company. Governance and the ownership of data as well as working with information models and defining business vocabulary. On the analytics side we are not limiting ourselves to any specific data like customer data or risk data.
Our ambition is to give people the best possible abilities to work with data! Pushing out self-service possibilities and making it easier for people to access data. Working both with technology, making sure we have the right tools but also business discoveries to define analytical solutions and possibilities, where we can use key data to drive business.
Vanessa: What’s the first thing you did when you took over?
Jan: The first thing we did was to assess the overall maturity in the company when it comes to analytics & data management and creating a roadmap to close the biggest gaps. This also later on led to a proposal for a Chief Data Officer agenda to the Skandia leadership team. However, as we all know that is not easy to fully grasp and get acceptance. That’s what started a long journey of saying the same thing over and over again.
I am not really doing anything differently but the pieces start to fall into place and it has been challenging. We are trying to be evangelist and pushing for the value of good data management in the company. The challenges are more about change management, culture and communication rather than technology.
Vanessa: What are your views on the role of the Chief Data Officer?
Jan: I think a Chief Data Officer, would be good for Skandia irrespective of who takes on the role. I believe to have this role in place would send a clear signal that data is an important asset that needs to be managed and this is an area that we take seriously.
Having the title also gives you the mandate you need!
Vanessa: Who is your biggest supporter at Skandia?
Jan: It is clear that we need to have management supporting us not just talking but by action. We have a new Chief Financial Officer that understands what we are after and has started to put this high on the agenda. I believe it has proven to be really helpful and is an absolute necessity to be able to succeed.
Vanessa: What do you see as the main challenge in getting role of the Chief Data Officer appointed?
Jan: We currently have many parts of the data management function bundled up on lower levels which loses its essence and comes across as ‘not so important’, which is a challenge. However, our main challenge is getting the attention and buy-in and the signal value of placing it.
Vanessa: What does your reporting structure look like?
Jan: I report the Head of Business Development, who in turn reports to the Chief Financial Officer.
It would be good for Skandia that the role of the Chief Data Officer report directly to a CxO function and maybe later on also part of the management team. The placement is not the most important, what is important is a clear sponsorship, financing and a committed roadmap that can be executed on.
Vanessa: What do you think are key skills for the Chief Data Officer?
Jan: Data management & Analytics in broad perspective, the ability to evangelize data within the company and change management & communication skills.
Vanessa: What are you focussing on today?
Jan: We’ve run the Data Governance program that includes data quality management, information modeling practices as well as roles & responsibilities and one of our challenges is to now land it in the line of business so that it can live on.
We are also implementing a new platform for advanced analytics & visualization as well as developing a number of analytical “proof of concepts”. We will hopefully also during 2018 consider some more innovative initiatives and maybe even an ‘innovation lab’ to be able to explore new opportunities.
Vanessa: Lastly, if a Skandia would appoint a Chief Data Officer tomorrow, what do you think he/she should do?
Jan: Start driving data initiatives in full effect. Stop questioning whether it should be done. Just do it.
Based on Skandia’s goals and objectives make sure there are supporting data and analytics initiatives in place. There needs to be a clear line between the business objectives and the supporting data initiatives.
Adjust financial model for budgeting to limit the competition with regulatory projects. To be effective I believe there should be a "baseline" funding for data & analytics management.
Work hard to push out Alteryx and Tableau to give people the opportunity to self-service data. Should not take several years to do this.
Improve the overall data quality management.
Vanessa: We wish you all success!
Digital Strategy, Data & Analytics, PwC Sverige
Tel 0729-97 26 02