Ted Cotterill, Indiana's Chief Privacy Officer and General Counsel for the Management Performance Hub, speaks with Bill Sullivan, VP and General Manager for US Federal at Denodo, in a video interview, about his professional journey, transitioning into public service, challenges of the role, and overcoming regulatory hurdles to become data-driven.
MPH is a state agency that provides data-driven solutions and analytics for the Indiana state government.
An advocate for innovation in government, Cotterill focuses most of his practice on privacy ethics and governance issues presented by AI, big data, and the cloud. He also oversees product development across various standards and regulatory frameworks.
At the beginning of the discussion, Cotterill sheds light on how his childhood learnings helped him shape his career. He states success as an attorney and a privacy officer involves entrepreneurship.
Building a practice or building a privacy program requires building a culture that includes gaining and retaining clients and adding value to their operations, says Cotterill. Similarly, while creating the Management Performance Hub in 2017, he mentions building a team, bringing in the right competencies, drafting the charter, and advocating for funding.
Adding on, Cotterill shares how the team articulated ROI on the “new data thing” in front of the budget leaders in the General assembly. Eventually, the team has built the culture, creating wins and leveraging those to form lasting relationships.
Moving forward, Cotterill states that he first started working for the state in Governor Mitch Daniel’s administration, while attending law school at night.
When asked what he enjoys most about work, Cotterill says that government service is for service-oriented young professionals. Rewinding initial days, he maintains that one gets the opportunity to sit at the decision-making table much earlier than in the private sector.
Consequently, there is the opportunity to shape the government's response to the complex challenges. He mentions being presented with challenging scenarios that allowed him to address and resolve them by bringing in the right people and technologies.
Speaking of challenges, Cotterill discusses his frustrations from a citizen’s point of view. Elaborating further, he points towards the self-service models coming to the forefront, and how user expectations are set by Google, Microsoft, and the like.
Since the user expectations are set by the big tech, and the government has to meet people where they are, it becomes a moving target, says Cotterill. He retains that much remains to be done to make it easier.
Another challenge, in Cotterill’s opinion, is encouraging the next generation to serve. Unlike the past years, students today are graduating in tech roles or have cybersecurity certifications, but need to understand the value they can add.
Next, Cotterill highlights the need to overcome regulatory hurdles and discusses designing a simple solution in the form of the Indiana Open Data Act. This act enables open data sharing between state and agency business units and unlocks data for community-based civic organizations while still being in law, to use it optimally.
Additionally, Cotterill shares how the Management Performance Hub was crafted to become the master key throughout the drafting process of enabling the statute. He mentions that MPH became a business associate under HIPAA, a representative for FERPA, and an auditor and evaluator for substance-use disorder, thus transforming every aspect.
In conclusion, Cotterill asserts by doing so, the MPH has molded itself according to the regulations and checked all the required boxes to have access to data. He believes that a domain-specific approach to privacy is a novel solution to regulatory hurdles.
CDO Magazine appreciates Ted Cotterill for sharing his success stories with our global community.