Inderpal Bhandari rejoined IBM as Global Chief Data Officer in December 2015. In this newly created role, he has leveraged his extensive experience to lead the development of IBM’s data strategy and drive IBM’s internal cognitive enterprise transformation. The work has culminated in the AI Enterprise Blueprint; a roadmap for IBM’s clients on their own journeys to AI.  Inderpal is an expert in transforming data into business value and improved customer experiences by delivering strategic, innovative capabilities that use analytic insights to enable growth and productivity.  In 2017, he was named U.S. Chief Data Officer of the Year by the CDO Club, and has been featured as an industry expert by Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, US News & World Report, CNN, and FOX.  Inderpal earned his Master of Science Degree in Electrical & Computer Engineering from the University of Massachusetts and holds a PhD in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.  Learn more about Inderpal’s insights on harnessing the power of data and accelerating Artificial Intelligence (AI) implementation at IBM’s Journey to AI and Think blogs.

In today’s podcast, we talk with Inderpal about data as a strategic asset, the challenge in ensuring new technologies are intuitive to engender user trust, and how Soldiers can be empowered to transform the Army into a data-centric culture.  The following bullet points highlight key insights from our interview:

Describing “data” as a field of study is like the “blind men describing an elephant,” each one will have a different, limited aspect of it, and thus, a different description. Data is now being recognized as more than just a record, as it can illuminate patterns and insights that can re-shape or invent new businesses and products. It is a strategic asset that is being referred to as the new oil, because it is “the fuel that drives the engine.” 

Scaling is the goal of any chief data officer of a large company with a global footprint. The first key step is to understand what the company is trying to do, or for a commercial company, how they are trying to make money, and using the data strategy to enable that goal. For a large enterprise like the Army,the question will be how data can enable the Army to accomplish its various mission sets of deploying, fighting, and winning our Nation’s wars. 

Culture change can occur in three ways:  Top-down as a strategy, laterally, and bottom-up/ grassroots. Bottom-up makes up the most significant portion of successful culture change in a system. Organizations need to make sure the users are prepared, and the technology interfaces are adapted to the change being sought. 

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