(US & Canada) | Internal Data Teams Should Act Like External Organizations — Centric Consulting Practice Lead for Data and Analytics

Tim Hoolihan, Practice Lead for Data and Analytics at Centric Consulting, speaks with Robert Lutton, VP, Sandhill Consultants, and CDO Magazine Editorial Board Vice Chair, in a video interview about balancing data security and compliance with data access and the need for constant communication between business and technical partners.

At the beginning of the conversation, Hoolihan addresses the challenge of balancing data security and compliance with the desire for open access to data and insights from generative models. He acknowledges that some organizations react by completely blocking tools like ChatGPT through firewalls, which he sees as a short-term solution. He warns that such actions might push users to transfer data to personal devices, increasing security risks.

Instead, Hoolihan advocates for an AI governance plan. He notes that vendors are becoming more transparent about data handling, and there are specific guidelines for using large language models (LLMs) in environments like Azure, ensuring data isolation and security. He emphasizes the need for organizations to evaluate their specific needs. For example, nonprofits working with public data might not need stringent controls, whereas law firms must ensure confidentiality.

Speaking further on the topic, Hoolihan highlights the importance of effective user communication, training, and support. He stresses the need for technologists to continuously convey these practices to business users effectively.

When asked about best practices for developing a data strategy, Hoolihan suggests building a strategy aligned with an organization's overall business objectives while focusing on business value and fostering a collaborative environment with business stakeholders. He emphasizes that significant breakthroughs often come from those with local knowledge of the problem, such as doctors and nurses in historical medical discoveries, rather than statisticians.

Data teams should see their role as providing the processes, tools, and questions to empower those closest to the problem, driving value through partnership.

Next, Hoolihan describes how Centric Consulting ensures effective communication and collaboration between business stakeholders and technical teams throughout the analytics life cycle. He emphasizes the importance of internal teams acting like external organizations, highlighting the need for clear justification, planning, and status tracking.

Hoolihan explains that by having a roadmap and maturity model, organizations can identify strengths and areas for improvement, outline their approaches, and communicate their needs to business partners. Regular meetings to discuss progress and challenges are crucial. Treating the internal relationship as a client-service relationship fosters better communication, which is vital given the rapid changes in fields like AI and ML.

Constant communication between partners is key, Hoolihan concludes.

CDO Magazine appreciates Tim Hoolihan for sharing his insights with our global community.

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(US & Canada) | Data Governance Is Like Gardening, Keep Pulling Weeds for Life — Centric Consulting Practice Lead for Data and Analytics
(US & Canada) | Internal Data Teams Should Act Like External Organizations — Centric Consulting Practice Lead for Data and Analytics

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