John Bottega, President of the EDM Council, sits down with BigIDeas on the Go to discuss the evolution of data management, how the roles and responsibilities of the Chief Data Officer have progressed over time, and how best practices for cloud strategies are being established.

A Pioneer in the Role of CDO

When Bottega started out in the data space as an application developer, “most of the folks in data management didn’t start out their careers wanting to be in data management — they kinda stumbled into it.”

Bottega was no exception, as he chanced upon data management in early 1991. “I was asked to take over a data quality group,” says Bottega, at his Lehman Brother’s job. “And it was the first time in my career that I was looking at data not just from a technology perspective, but actually the content perspective.”

When Bottega worked his way up to CDO, “it was primarily an adjunct tech role…. I often kid that when I was the Chief Data Officer back in 2006, I sat at the kids’ table in the C-suite. Today, you’re seeing CDOs in that authoritative role of being asked to take on not only the data role, but the analytics role — and the role of ensuring data ethics.”

AI and ML Is Only As Good As the Data That Goes Into It

According to Bottega, “AI and ML play right into” that evolving data landscape. “You think about the explosion of artificial intelligence models and machine learning models. Like everything else, they’re only as good as the data that goes into them.”

It’s up to the CDO to create order from the chaos and “ensure that the data is fit for purpose, properly acquired, ethical in its access,” and so forth. “So all the stories we’ve heard — if it’s legal to pull data from Facebook, if it’s ethical to pull data from Facebook, things of that nature. The CDO is squarely in the middle of all that as a partner to technology, and as a partner to the business.”

The Rush to the Cloud

As if companies — especially those in financial services — hadn’t already been racing to decommission their data centers and move their data assets to the cloud, the COVID crisis that defined the past year only intensified that urgency.

“The industry is cloud-hungry right now,” says Bottega. “Everybody wants to move to the cloud…. The whole idea that you don’t have the responsibility, the physical location — that it’s outsourced, if you will, to a provider, or the technology capability of the cloud provider — is huge, right? The flexibility, the scalability, is fantastic.

“But as you move more and more data into the cloud, there are challenges: information security challenges, residency challenges, court order challenges, things like that.”

Enter the Cloud Data Management Capabilities (CDMC) workgroup at EDM Council, which establishes best practices for cloud strategies with participation from all four major cloud providers of Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and IBM — plus some of the world’s leading technology and financial firms.

“It’s not just focused on banks, because the standard applies to any industry,” says Bottega. With over 200 people from competing organizations working together to drive the CDMC, “it started out kinda humbly, and turned into quite a massive activity,” Bottega says. “That’s what this framework is all about.”

Listen to the full podcast to learn more about Bottega’s work on the EDM Council and with the Cloud Data Management Capabilities workgroup — as well as his predictions for the future of data governance.