Interview: Kenneth Viciana, Equifax on Data Governance – Red Tape or Catalyst?

We discuss recommendations for Data Governance policies, advice, Big Data trends, qualities sought in Data Scientists, and more.

kenneth-vicianaKenneth Viciana has extensive Data Management experience in the Financial Industry. He has successfully led and delivered many strategic data initiatives at Fortune 500 Companies. Kenneth's primary management areas of focus include; Data Warehousing, Data Quality, Data Governance, Big Data, and Business Intelligence. He is driven to deliver powerful data management solutions in support of generating corporate revenue.

In his current role at Equifax, Kenneth leads a team that is responsible for Enterprise Data Strategy, and transforming Big Data into valuable insights that are the catalyst for accelerating the delivery of solutions to real life problems.

First part of interview

Here is second and last part of my interview with him:

Anmol Rajpurohit: Q6. What are your recommendations for Data Governance policies and procedures?

data-governanceKenneth Viciana: Before providing recommendations it’s important to level set on the topic. I define Data Governance as the coordination of people, business processes, and technology to enable an organization to leverage data as a corporate asset. Successfully delivering Data Governance creates efficiencies, mitigates risk and supports the enablement of corporate revenue.

The biggest misconception about Data Governance is that many people view it as red tape, unnecessary overhead, and even as a road block. In order for it to succeed, the various stakeholders need to be shown the value of Data Governance. What’s in it for them? Incent and influence the stakeholders to buy into the concept by showing them value. Without this approach it is very difficult to gain traction in Data Governance efforts.

AR: Q7. What is the best advice you have got in your career?

own-your-careerKV: Identifying the best advice in my career is difficult to isolate. I’ve worked in a number of prestigious companies throughout my career, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had some solid mentors along the way.

At one point early in my career I felt like I was stuck in a rut. I was in a production role and just going through the motions to complete my day to day assignments. I did not feel like I was learning new things nor did I feel challenged by the work. I had a talk with a mentor, and he told me that I was responsible for my career path. He went on to say, if this role is not ideal for you then go find one that is of more interest but it’s up to you to do that. Nobody is going to do that for you! This message around ‘owning my career’ was very valuable.

AR: Q8. Which of the current trends in Big Data are of great interest to you? Why?

KV: I’m very interested in The Internet of Things (IoT). There is a large ecosystem of everyday objects that have network connectivity allowing them to send and receive data. Things like sensors in your car, thermostats in your home, wearables, and sensors in smartphones are gathering data. Further, this space will continue to grow as more IoT devices come to market and also the number of sensors in devices continues to increase.
I’m genuinely interested in seeing how all of this machine data is put to use. What problems will it solve? Also I’m interested to see how far IoT goes as many believe some of the data collected in this space is crossing privacy boundaries and could be considered to be ‘creepy’.

AR: Q9. What key qualities do you look for when interviewing for Data Science related positions on your team?

interviewKV: In staffing roles I like to really have a good understanding of the candidate’s background and how they ended up in this interview. I like them to walk me through their journey. I also like them to tie experiences, skillsets, and knowledge to the role they are in interviewing for. Additionally I often present a scenario in an interview, and ask candidates how they would approach the given situation? It gives me a sense for the thought process and temperament of the candidate when challenged. Specific traits I focus on are inquisitiveness, excitement/eagerness to learn, attention to detail, communication skills, and cultural fit.

AR: Q10. What was the last book that you read and liked? What do you like to do when you are not working? lincoln-lawyer

KV: The last book I read and enjoyed was ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ by Michael Connelly. This was a highly entertaining novel that I strongly recommend to others.

When I’m not working I like spending time with my family and friends. I also really enjoy traveling, and just recently booked a cruise for my family that will take us to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico. I’m very excited for this trip!