(US & Canada) VIDEO | The Data Team Exists Because Business Exists — 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 the importance of data catalogs, how data cataloging aids in achieving business goals, and the need for data professionals to understand the business language.

When asked how data cataloging aids in achieving organizational goals, Plein responds that it helps bring data and business professionals together. Further, data cataloging allows businesses to know about the available data, and how to use that for reporting analytics. It also enables data professionals to comprehend the business context of data.

Shedding light on her experience of working with data catalogs, Plein asserts seeing mountains of data in legacy organizations that have never been cataloged. Additionally, the applications that created the data back then had no metadata either.

In this scenario, data cataloging would require having a business case to get around with the massive data. However, while thinking about the pros and cons of the business argument and cost-benefit analysis, the data is distributed in all the analysts’ minds.

This way, everyone has a piece of the data puzzle, leading to problems and inefficiencies, and it might take a long time to find the right person with the right knowledge. Instead of analysts working on cataloging on a per-project basis, organizations could have a state catalog that creates all of the documentation for everyone to quickly refer to.

Explaining the situation further, Plein shares a library analogy and how a certain age group is familiar with the card catalog while the other with a digital catalog. The labeled books create an organizational system that allows the reader to understand which books are available, what they are about, and where they can find the ones they need.

Similarly, doing data cataloging across the board allows the organization to understand various data aspects and what it means to the business, says Plein. It is a glossary of domain terms and language that helps data professionals learn and understand the business context of data.

Having worked with various Fortune 500 companies across industries, Plein has built up her knowledge bank. Now, being in the construction industry she is focused on noting the business processes that create data that aids in building virtual construction designs.

Doing this has enabled Plein to leverage data to tell a story that is business-relevant, notes Plein. Data catalog harmonizes the technical and business aspects and implementing it is not as arduous as it seems, she adds.

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(US & Canada) VIDEO | The Data Team Exists Because Business Exists — Clayco Construction Company VP Data Analytics and Engineering

Highlighting data as a shared service, Plein states that the data team exists because business exists as the business creates data in the first place. Speaking from experience, she maintains that both domain experts and experts in specialized areas must work in sequence to keep everything going.

According to Plein, everything boils down to having skilled data professionals learn the craft and language of business. She stresses that the organization has started using business questions as titles in dashboards and data visualizations.

Taking it further, Plein states that it is a conversational sort of question. The organization is testing ideas with business consumers to assess if the relevant words are used to take the burden of translation and analysis off of the consumer. At Clayco, she says, the dashboard is built in a way that anyone would understand what is going on in every business sector by looking at the dashboard.

Winding up, Plein says that a data analytics team must have a clear understanding of business processes and planning. She urges data team leaders to ensure processes are in place and the team is connected to the right people and resources to learn the domain knowledge.

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

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