Trusting The Data with Arijit Bhattacharya

Apex talks to Arijit Bhattacharya, Principal at Element22. Arijit is a strategist with success in creating Data Governance, Data Management, Data Stewardship and Data Operations. Here, Arijit speaks on using data and analytics proactively for governance and growth rather than taking a backseat.


Q: What is the difference between a Chief Data Officer and a Chief Analytics Officer? Are they one in the same?

A: While analytics is a large part of the CDO role today, they are different roles. The CDO is responsible for data governance, data integrity, face off to regulators as well as using the data in the organization for revenue generating needs. Analytics is a very important part of the data that an organization has in order to either course correct or give indications to new trends in the data collected. But overall, the trust in that data is very important – which is what a CDO is supposed to provide to the organization.


Q: How have you seen the role of CDO change? How do you partner with the CIO? Have you encountered any challenges facing the CDO function?

A: The role of the CDO has changed from just data governance and integrity to that of using the firm’s data for monetizing it or making use of it to gain more insights into customer interactions, creating new channels for sales, etc. It is not a passive role anymore and is now embedded in revenue generating processes.

Q: What should be the ideal role and responsibilities of the CDO?

A: It should be  blend of data governance (bring back the trust in data to the organization), timeliness of data availability – goes back to the trust and if you don’t make data available in a timely manner, people will find a way to get it – which may not be trusted data, regulatory, privacy and security of data. Above all, when all of this is in place, data should be helping businesses do more and not be taking a back seat. So a CDO should always have that view in mind as to what is the end goal of all this – it should always be to help businesses do more, embed the CDO office in the revenue generating process.

Q: What operating model and cultural changes have you considered as you shift to a digital business? What parts of your business would benefit the most from a greater digital foundation?

A: The operating model change has been mainly related to the governance of data – with data owners, data stewards taking care of their respective data domains. This has taken time to establish but people see the benefits to it. The trust in the data was very important as a foundational exercise. And this has been achieved with the right tools, automated processing to check for data quality, dashboarding and a modern way to do data governance. With this digital foundation, the journey now moves on to more revenue generating themes which involve analytics and AI.


Q: What are your top data priorities: business growth, data security/privacy, legal/regulatory concerns, expense reduction…?

A: The priority should always be the proper governance and trust in the data. Without that, any data in the organization is up for debate and waste of time. Once this is under control, the data can be looked at for business growth, cost reduction and answering regulatory queries. Data security is more of an IT function and is important. It should be monitored and reported on. For data privacy, as the requirements are there from regulators or the business, there may be technical solutions needed. This is important because any breach can lead to loss of reputation and/or clients, fines, etc.


Q: Did you have specific projects or initiatives that have been shelved due to COVID-19 and current realities?

A: None of the projects were shelved – in fact, if anything, projects got delivered at a quicker pace. People were more focused on the respective projects they were doing and also did not mind going the extra mile with the working from home environment. Overall, there has been no ill effects of Covid-19 on the delivery of work. However, there have been people who got directly affected and the firm took a sympathetic view to them and it all worked out in the end for the team.


Q: What advice would you give an early stage CIO or CDO joining an enterprise organization?

A: There should be a benchmarking exercise done to make sure the current landscape is clear to everyone in the organization. This helps prioritize the work in the next 2-3 years. The landscape should be looked at with the following in mind : trust in data, data duplication, regulatory and legal needs, expense reduction / re-work, etc.



Arijit Bhattacharya – Principal at Element22

Arijit Bhattacharya is a financial Services Leader in the Data and ESG space developing and executing on long term strategies. Specific emphasis on enabling new capabilities via improved time to market, data quality, automation, streamlined processes and reduced costs. Strategist with success in creating Data Governance, Data Management, Data Stewardship and Data Operations. Designer of top-quality technical applications that deliver strategic solutions to meet real world business needs.