VIDEO | Commonwealth of Virginia CDO: People are Resistant to Change by Nature

VIDEO | Commonwealth of Virginia CDO:  People are Resistant to Change by Nature

(US and Canada) Ken Pfeil, Chief Data Officer, Commonwealth of Virginia, speaks with Denise Verdicchio, SHI International Senior Vice President and President Public Sector Sales, about his experiences as a CDO in public services, change management, and the difference between data strategy and data roadmap.

Pfeil describes his role as part technologist who also has to be a good facilitator, and an excellent communicator who is also great at building relationships with a wide range of people.

Speaking on establishing those trusted relationships, Pfeil explains that the organization has relied on word of mouth from agencies in the data trust and the executive branch, along with many localities in the cities and towns. He adds that thinking of the commonwealth as a whole can benefit all Virginians and help drive the use of data towards expected outcomes.

Pfeil reveals that it has been a little challenging in some cases because of set ways people have done things or interacted for a long time. He stresses that, to do the job well, it is necessary to get all the people on board, and that people are resistant to change by nature. The task is to work more collaboratively with other agencies that are trying to achieve their business outcomes, he says.

When asked about the difference between a data strategy and a data roadmap, Pfeil indicates that the roadmap is the end goal, and the strategy is all the milestones put together to achieve the goal. He adds that the roadmap may be different based on priorities, whether staffing, technology, budget, or outsourcing, for example. The larger plan for Pfeil is to have a singular baseline across the commonwealth that can be hit consistently while adjusting the overall strategy to meet the needs of the agency strategy.

When discussing what is necessary to remain flexible and pivot or change with new technology, Pfeil asserts the need to stay focused on the business and not on technology. He continues that technology is guaranteed to change, so proper vetting of capabilities is essential. Pfeil maintains that the organization should not stick with a particular piece of technology or way of doing things.

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