(US & Canada) VIDEO | Be Thoughtful When Creating Data — Clayco Construction Company VP Data Analytics and Engineering

Caitlin Plein, VP Data Analytics and Engineering at Clayco Construction Company, speaks with Derek Strauss, Chairman at Gavroshe and CDO Magazine Editorial Board Member, in a video interview about her background, the construction industry, fundamental issues of incorporating data and analytics, and how to get the best out of it.

Plein begins by shedding light on her background when she studied psychology and statistics at school and how the disciplines helped her understand different behaviors. She recalls the initial days of her career in the academic sector, focused on traditional experimental research.

After building the foundational knowledge, Plein moved to the corporate sector and eventually joined Clayco. She notes that advancing construction analytics helped her understand the construction industry better as it was a new domain for her.

The corporate sector goes beyond what has happened to assess why it is happening, says Plein, and then on to predictive analytics of what could happen next. Further, with AI and ML taking over the world, automating decision-making and leveraging data to innovate and move business forward has been eye-opening for her.

When asked about fundamental organizational issues, Plein lists the following two:

  1. People and the organization itself

  2. Data Management

Elaborating further, she says that while everyone in the organization from the top down talks about the need for buy-in, there should also be organization-wide data literacy. Every level of the organization should understand that data is gold, and be able to comprehend the goal and hurdles to overcome.

For instance, Plein says, an organization could have the processes in Excel and not have an application to cover the needs. However, what matters is how the organization then partners with the IT or data team to close the gaps.

Adding on, Plein urges workers to be thoughtful when it comes to entering and creating data and being as accurate as possible. Thereafter, she mentions having open dialogues with the data professionals as partners, appreciating their help, and offering her unique business skill set to take the organization forward.

Moving on to the data side of things, Plein conveys that organizations must ensure high availability of data. She notes that organizations have now come far from keeping data in the backend of a specific application and staying within it to consolidating data from all sources into data lakes or central repositories.

Additionally, Plein states that the consolidation should be done timely so that the application and analytic reports flow in the same cadence. Next, organizations should focus on how resilient the data is and things should be built in a way that the data team is the first one to know if anything is broken.

Then, Plein highlights the security aspect and states that every organization has data security and privacy, and legal and regulatory considerations around data. She affirms that the data analytics team must ensure applications of the policies in an automated way to stay in compliance and mitigate organizational risk.

In conclusion, Plein stresses assessing the accuracy of authoritative data — data quality, cleansing, and cataloging the data, to create master data. She insists that it will be the golden record of all the business context around different versions of the data across time.

CDO Magazine appreciates Caitlin Plein for sharing her invaluable insights with our global community.

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