Governing Body Spotlight

Governing Body Member of the San Francisco CDAO Community

Sudeep Kumar

Global Head of Enterprise Data and Analytics


Sudeep Kumar currently serves as Global Head of Enterprise Data & Analytics at Ciena Corporation (CIEN). He leads the governance, data engineering, data integration, business intelligence and analytics, data operations, data science and AI teams. In this role, he is accountable for defining the enterprise data strategy and translating this vision to execute data transformation initiatives across all business functions globally.

Sudeep has over 20 years of industry experience across business processes, business applications and data technologies. He currently holds a Bachelor’s in engineering and an MBA degree. He is a regular speaker at many data and IT leadership forums sharing a blend of his business, data, technology and leadership experience with industry best practices.

He spends his spare time coaching robotics and teaching mathematics, physics and computer science to middle and high school students.

Learn more about leaders in the San Francisco CDAO community here.

Give us a brief overview of the path that led to your current role.

I started my career as a factory planner in the engineering industry. In this position, I developed an MRP system and report using Visual Basic in Excel, and it was my first experience with data and analytics. We did not have any ERP system or reporting tool then, and it was fascinating to see how data coming from multiple sources can be connected and consumed to drive business outcomes. 

After I received my MBA, I switched my focus to business applications. I led digital transformation for several organizations using ERP, sales, marketing, supply chain, manufacturing, product lifecycle management, research and development, financial planning and analysis, human resources, legal and other business systems. Working in these different business domains and enterprise applications enhanced my data and process knowledge across the organization. It helped me realize that the magic happens when we connect the cross functional data together.

Frankly, I didn’t realize that my passion to connect cross functional data sets made me into a data guy. I became a data enabler for my organization. Luckily, it was my CIO who first recognized this and challenged me to develop an enterprise data strategy and then build and lead an enterprise data organization. Today, I am honored to work with a world-class data team to drive the data-driven culture at Ciena.

What is one of your guiding leadership principles?

Lead with P.H.D. - “PASSION, HEART and DRIVE”. Passion leads to strategy, heart enables the people around you and drive executes your strategy.

With disruption being a key theme of the past year, where do you see your role as a CDAO going in the next 1-2 years?

After people, information is the #2 asset for an organization. Data is the lifeblood of any organization which connects every organ in the body to make them function. I see this role as a business partner to every business function driving customer experience, corporate growth, operational excellence, employee productivity and compliance for my organization.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in the role as a CDAO?

Find good business use cases and deliver them quickly to win trust in data. Next, form a Data & Analytics Center of Excellence (COE) with business leaders to drive data literacy programs. The data-driven cultural change is a journey, and prepare yourself to be the “Change Champion” for your organization.

Tell us 3 fun facts about yourself.

  1. I love cooking for large masses – parties as well as for shelters. 
  2. I am a teacher. Nothing makes me happier than teaching mathematics, physics, computer science, and robotics.
  3. I watch almost every sport.

What is the value of joining an Evanta community?

I have been active in Evanta CDAO and CIO communities. We have had so many open and honest conversations, sharing our success as well as our failures. The trust in this group is inspiring where we learn from each other. Looking forward to continuing to have such discussions.



Evanta Governing Body members share their insights and leadership perspectives to shape the agendas and topics that address the top priorities impacting business leaders today.


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