Speaker Spotlight Column: Kenneth Viciana on Data Governance and Big Data

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edw2013-speaker-spotlightby Charles Roe

DATAVERSITY™ recently interviewed Kenneth Viciana, the Vice President of Enterprise Data Management at Equifax. Kenneth Viciana will be giving two sessions at the Enterprise Data World 2014 Conference in Austin, Texas from April 27 – May 1, 2014. The first session is titled “The Role of Data Governance in the World of Big Data,” and the second session is “Achieving Sustainable Data Governance: Lessons Learned from the DGPO.” The second session is co-presented with Steven Zagoudis, the CEO of MetaGovernance Inc.; Kelle O’Neal, the Principal at First San Francisco Partners; and, Janet N. Lichtenberger the Director of Enterprise Data Governance at Walgreens.

The Speaker Spotlight Column (and its parallel venture the Sponsor Spotlight Column) is an ongoing project that focuses on highlighting several of the central issues represented at the many Data Management conferences produced by DATAVERSITY.

The primary emphasis of the interview was to question Kenneth Viciana on his work and history within the industry, with particular importance on his presentation at the upcoming conference:

DATAVERSITY (DV): What are you going to discuss during your session at EDW14, and what will the audience gain from attending your talk? (Please be specific about one or two issues you’ll be addressing and the benefits the audience will obtain).

Kenneth Viciana (KV): In my presentation I will discuss Data Governance in the landscape of Big Data.  I will touch on some traditional Data Governance techniques, and elaborate on specific areas that are of focus in successfully governing Big Data.  The audience will hear about real world challenges along with approaches utilized to deliver solutions.  My goal is to share experiences that the audience can connect with and learn from in efforts of mobilizing and implementing a strong Big Data Governance program.

DV: What is really important about such a topic in terms of the current state of Data Management and / or how the industry going to transform moving into the future?

KV: Big Data is creating major buzz in the industry and as companies become more mature in this space, Data Governance is a major undertaking.  The value of Big Data is being able to draw pertinent observations (from the ‘Big’ Data) that can be translated into insights.  Transparency around the data that’s available for use is needed in order for it to be successfully leveraged as a corporate asset.  Additionally, data access and usage needs to be tightly controlled.  All data sources are not created equally, and each has its set of contractual/legal regulations that need to be applied.  My data governance framework enables innovation while keeping the organization compliant.

DV: Please tell us a little about yourself and your history in the industry, past work experience, and how you got started in the data profession?

KV: My Data Management journey began with an operational Data Management role at Fidelity Investments.  I worked on the fixed income trading floor and managed the reference data on the trading system.  I then took on a data provisioning role at SunTrust Bank focused on the development and implementation of an Enterprise Data Warehouse.  Once this was delivered, my focus shifted to Data Governance, as we realized a lot of great work was done but it needed to be formally rolled out to the organization in order for it to be leveraged.  I coordinated training and communications, and built out a robust Data Governance program that empowered customers to use the Enterprise Data Warehouse.

I then took on a challenge at ING Investment Management, which had been stuck in a data warehouse project for 3+ years that was unsuccessfully delivered to production.  I stepped in and locked down requirements, helped design the needed architecture, and led a team that successfully delivered the data warehouse.  The group then established best practices around Data Management, Data Governance, and reporting, which provided major value to the organization.  The Equifax opportunity became available and the thought of working for a data company was very intriguing!  Initially, I was focused on data integration and managing out consumer Big Data assets.  Now I’ve transitioned to a data strategy role with my focus being on driving innovation.

DV: What is the biggest challenge happening in your particular area of Data Management at this time?

KV: We have many homegrown tools and technologies to address Big Data, and we are currently working to re-platform many of these to ‘off the shelf’ solutions.  This is a large undertaking given many of the legacy technologies have complexities and dependencies that are very difficult to unravel.  Each one seems to have its own story with nuisances that present challenges.

DV: How is such a change influencing your job?

KV: The work to move to industry leading ‘off the shelf’ solutions will help us more efficiently operate and manage data.  It’s a critical effort that will enable innovation by making complete data sets with proper tooling readily available to our analysts.

DV: How have your job, and / or the work you are doing at your organization, altered in the past 12 months? How do you expect it will change in the next 1-2 years?

KV: I’ve shifted roles from managing data integration into leading data strategy.  It’s provided me more exposure across the organization as the path forward requires buy-in and support from various stakeholders.  In the next 1-2 years I anticipate further development and execution on the data strategy roadmap that will enable continued innovation.

DV: Are there any other emerging technologies you predict will affect your job function in the future?

KV: I don’t see any emerging technologies affecting the data strategy function.

DV: What’s your favorite “Data” or “Data Management” quote?

KV: If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. Albert Einstein, Physicist

DV: How do you explain what you do for work, at a cocktail party, or to your grandparents?

KV: I manage data at Equifax and support translating it into valuable information/insights.

 

If you are interested in attending Kenneth’s sessions at EDW2014, please see the conference schedule at: http://edw2014.dataversity.net/agenda.cfm?confid=79&scheduleDay=PRINT

His sessions is on Tuesday, April 29th at 11.15am and Wednesday, April 30th at 9.30am.

About Enterprise Data World:

Enterprise Data World is the business world’s most comprehensive educational event about data and information management. Over five days, EDW presents a diverse schedule of programming that addresses every level of proficiency, including keynotes, workshops, tutorials, case studies, and discussions.

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