Inspiring Data Curiosity & Confidence

Town Hall Insights
St. Louis CIO & CISO Community

Wolfgang Goerlich

Advisory CISO

Cisco Secure


Daniel Henke




Teresa Sanzottera


Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals


Andrew Wilder




Brett Barton

Senior Director



Data governance is often at odds with data curiosity, stifling an organization's ability to develop a data-driven culture. Leaders want their employees to access relevant data and insights that can help inform decisions. But, how can CIOs and CISOs strike the right balance between protecting data and encouraging responsible data curiosity and use across the enterprise?

CIOs and CISOs in the St. Louis community gathered recently at a Town Hall to discuss their role in sparking data curiosity in safe and secure ways. Wolfgang Goerlich, Advisory CISO at Cisco Secure moderated the discussion with Daniel Henke, VP, CISO, at Mercy, Teresa Sanzottera, VP & CIO at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, Andrew Wilder, VP & CISO at Hillenbrand, and Brett Barton, Senior Director at Slalom serving as discussion leaders.

Digital transformation impacts data needs

Goerlich kicked off the discussion by discussing how data has become increasingly important during many organizations’ digital transformations. He shared how rapid transformation over the past few years has pulled forward the roadmaps in many ways on behaviors and usage for digital and data. He gave the example of younger generations interacting entirely online at rates that were unexpected until 2030. These changes in behavior – along with the creation of more and more data – have made it more difficult for leaders to apply governance to meet all the data needs around their organizations.

Goerlich also pointed out that security and governance programs are dependent on relationships and culture. The adoption of these measures requires thinking about the “people side,” and the organizational change needed to drive behavior change. Goerlich noted that as leaders weave data into the business and decision-making process, they also need to work on internal communications and relationships with the employees making use of that data.

Key Takeaways from the Discussion

  • Clean, reliable data as a core building block. IT and security leaders agreed that it’s necessary to have reliable data as the foundation for building data literacy and curiosity. They discussed having controls early in the process, providing a ‘data dictionary,’ and having a single source of truth for data elements as key pieces of the process. 
  • Make data part of the planning process. Executives noted that data needs to be part of tactical, operational, and strategic planning from the beginning. They shared that with so many data points and metrics, it’s important to ensure that key stakeholders know what’s available and what to use – in other words, operationalizing the data.
  • Emphasize exploration and discoverability. Creating a culture of data curiosity requires shifting from the old school ways of offering a set of metrics or reports to weaving data into existing internal processes. One CISO suggested that they should “challenge our people to ask for the impossible” as a way of pushing data curiosity forward. 
  • Work with all stakeholders – and recruit evangelists. CIOs and CISOs emphasized the importance of working with all stakeholder teams to help define and set guardrails for the use of data. They also discussed having leadership buy-in and ensuring leaders see the value of promoting data exploration, as well as recruiting data evangelists around the organization.

Overall, they felt that they could push their organizations to spark more data curiosity in safe and secure ways. IT and security leaders thought that it was progress to move from the day-to-day data protection role into one that weaves data into the decision-making process. This aligns with their top priorities as a CIO and CISO community – which this year are digital business and data and analytics.

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