(US and Canada) Kshemendra Paul, CDO, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, speaks with Adita Karkera, Deloitte CDO, Government & Public Services, about his responsibilities, and the similarities between his roles at private and government organizations.
Paul says that every department and agency in the federal government has a different mission. and they have discretion in how to set up a Chief Data Officer position to make sure it is impacting the mission appropriately. Paul’s role at the Department of Veterans Affairs has a data management/governance component and a data analytics component.
According to Paul, the relationship between the CIO and the CDO functions in the federal space brings together information technology, information resource management, analytic requirements, and data quality into a combined package.
When asked about navigating his career through both the public and private sectors, Paul reveals that he never thought he would be a part of the government. Following September 11, 2001, Paul says he felt a call to be a part of something bigger than himself and joined the U.S. Department of Justice, helping with counter-terrorism, law enforcement information sharing, and government operations.
Paul mentions that the public service mission is very attractive, particularly because it gives the opportunity to work on the biggest problems in the country and the world. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the largest integrated payer-provider of healthcare in America and maybe internationally, he points out.
Sharing some similarities between the private and public sectors, Paul indicates that the product management sensibility in entrepreneurial endeavors translates well into thinking about government transformation and capability delivery. He adds that there are pockets of excellence in innovation across the U.S. government. Concluding, Paul reveals that the government drives a lot of innovation in the private sector and that he did not fully realize how intertwined the two sectors are until he joined the federal government.