Prakash Baskar is the Founder and President of Khyanafi. He helps data leaders to rapidly transition and accelerate the success of data, analytics, and digital initiatives. Previously, Prakash was the Chief Data Officer at Santander Consumer USA where he led enterprise data governance, risk infrastructure & information (risk data aggregation), data quality, business data strategy & solutions, and business & reporting analysis functions.
In this episode, Prakash tells us how he started in the data space at his university. His role was to determine how students were performing. If they are not performing well, he needed to identify why. The graduation rates were low at the school, so Prakash was tasked with finding out what was the problem. Then, Prakash discusses starting a new job and having little direction about what to do. With everchanging technology, the description of your job will always be changing too. As a person going into any role, understand that you do not have to ask permission all the time. Have a clear idea of what you can do and what you cannot do, then do what you feel is right for the organization. Look for where the opportunities for expansion are and find a way to get results.
If you ask ten people what the role of a Chief Data Officer is, you will get ten different answers. Whatever the CDO does will ultimately be to enable others to receive real benefits out of the data. Just because something is not broken, does not mean it cannot be improved. There are many different routes a person can take to become a CDO; however, you need someone with knowledge in multiple aspects of business, technology, and people management. A CDO needs to create value for the organization; learn the company you are supporting to anticipate the problems they may run into.
Later, Prakash explains how in business, any change is hard. How you embrace the change after it is made is what will differentiate yourself from others. If the change is too complicated, people will shut off. Start off by telling the client what the change will do for them rather than the steps it will take to get there. Some other tips when presenting a significant change is to be realistic with what it will take and make sure not to overpromise. It is imperative to select things that you can quickly do with minimal engagement from their people. Plus, make sure you have updates for the company each month, so they understand what is being revealed from the data. Finally, Prakash discusses how essential it is to move around the organization in order to understand different departments and he reveals the inspiration behind his latest business venture.
Enjoy the show!
We speak about:
[01:30] How Prakash started in the data space
[03:55] The transition into consulting
[07:50] Deciding what problems to tackle first on the job
[10:10] The role of Chief Data Officer
[17:20] Creating value for the organization
[22:10] Businesses getting the maximum benefit from analytical work
[31:25] How to determine what to work on first with a company
[39:00] Data science conferences are full of CDOs
[45:45] Actively moving around the organization
[50:20] The inspiration behind Khyanafi
[53:50] What do you think makes a great leader in the data space?
[55:40] Advice for data scientists
Prakash’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/prakashbaskar/
Khyanafi’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/khyanafi/about/
Set up a discovery call with Prakash: https://calendly.com/prakashbaskar/discoverycall
“Your job description is only as good as the time it was written.”
“I am not a big believer in five or ten-year plans; I make plans six months at a time.”
“CDOs have to know the business! Try and learn how the company operates; you will gain more respect when you take the effort to understand the business.”
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Prakash Baskar is based in Columbus, Ohio.
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